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NATO IN 
THE BALKANS 



Voices of Opposition 



Ramsey Clark, Sean Gervasi, 
Sara Flounders, NadjaTesich, 
Thomas Deichmann, and others 




International Action Center 
New York 



Nato in the Balkans: 
Voices of Opposition 



© Copyright 1998 
ISBN 0-9656916-2-4 

International Action Center 
39 West 14th Street, Suite 206 
New York, NY 10011 

Phone (212) 633-6646 
Fax (212) 633-2889 
email iacenter@iacenter.org 

We want to make the ideas in this book available as widely as possible. 
Any properly attributed selection or part of a chapter within "fair-use" 
guidelines may be used without permission. 

Opinions expressed by contributors to this book represent their personal 
views and are not necessarily those of the organizations involved. 

Cover photos: Top left and center, USAF photos by Sr. Airman Ken Bergmann. 
Top right, USAF photo by SMSgt. Boyd Belcher. Bottom photo of M-109A3 
1 55mm self-propelled howitzer as part of NATO force in Bosnia is a DoD photo by 
StafTSgt. Jon E. Long, U.S. Amy. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Nato in the Balkans voices ofopposition/ Ramsey Clark [etal ] 
p. cm. 

"This book began as a small pamphlet in October 1995 entitled Bosnia tragedy— 
the unknown role of the U.S. government and Pentagon"~p. 1. 
Includes index. 

ISBN 0-9656916-2^ (pb : alk. paper) 

1 . Yugoslav War, 1 99 1 - 2. Yugoslavia-History- 1 992- 3 . North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization. 4. United States— Foreign relations- 1989- I. Clark, Ramsey, 
1927- n. International Action Center (New York, N.Y.) HI. Bosnia tragedy- 
the unknown role of the U.S. government and Pentagon. 
DR1313.N38 1998 

949.7 103-dc21 9742683 
CIP 



This bcK)k is dedicated to 
Sean Gervasi, whose untimely 
death in Belgrade in 1996 left 
the solidarity movement bereft 

of one of its finest and most 
talented members. He spared 
neither his time nor his health 
in pursuit of the truth. 



International Action Center 



The International Action Center was initiated in 1991 by former 
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and other anti-war activ- 
ists who had rallied hundreds of thousands of people in the 
United States to oppose the U.S./UN war against Iraq. It incor- 
porates the struggle to end racism, sexism, homophobia, and 
poverty in the United States with opposition to U.S. militarism 
and domination around the world. 

For the last five years the lAC has been a leader of the 
movement to unconditionally end U.S.AJN sanctions against 
Iraq. It has published several books on the Gulf War and Iraq, 
including War Crimes, The Fire This Time, The Children Are 
Dying, and Metal of Dishonor 

The lAC has also mobilized opposition to the U.S. 
blockade of Cuba, delivered numerous medical shipments to 
both Cuba and Iraq, and actively opposed U.S. military in- 
volvement in Haiti, Somalia, Panama, and Bosnia. 

The I AC is a volunteer activist organization. It relies on 
the donations and assistance of supporters around the country. 
To be part of a growing network, or to make a donation, re- 
quest a speaker, or volunteer support, contact the lAC at; 

39 West 14th St., Suite 206, New York, NY 1001 1 

Tel: 212-633-6646, fax 212-633-2889 

email: iacenter@iacenter.org 

Web page: http://www.iacenter.org/ 

2489 Mission St., Room 28, San Francisco, CA 94110 
Tel: 415-821-6545; fax 415-821-5782 
email: npcsf@igc.org 



IV 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Acknowledgments vii 
Authors X 
Introduction 1 

Part One: What is NATO planning? 

1 Ramsey Clark: 

U.S. and NATO plans to divide Yugoslavia 13 

2 Sean Gervasi: 

Why is NATO in Yugoslavia? 20 

3 Sara Flounders: 

Bosnia tragedy: The unknown role of the Pentagon 47 
Part Two: The Background to Yugoslavia's Breakup 

4 Michel Chossudovsky: 

Dismantling Yugoslavia, colonizing Bosnia 79 

5 SamMarcy: 

The breakup of the Yugoslav Socialist Federation 94 

6 Richard Becker: 

Sanctions in the destruction of Yugoslavia 107 

7 Gregory Elich: 

The invasion of Serbian Kraji na 1 3 0 

8 Gary Wilson: 

The Dayton Accords reshape Europe 141 



V 



• Part Three: The war and the media 



9 Thomas Deichmann: 

The picture that fooled the world 165 
I 0 Lenora Foerstel: 

A scripted Balkan tragedy 1 79 

I I Nadja Tesich: 

New and old disorder 185 
I 2 Barry Lituchy: 

Media deception and the Yugoslav civil war 203 
I 3 Heather Cottin andAlvin Dorfman: 

War propaganda aimed at Jewish opinion 210 
Appendix: Public Law 101-513 221 



VI 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



This bode is a collective effort. As the International Action Center 
began work on providing an alternative to the daily war propaganda 
flooding the media, its probing efforts led to the development of re- 
search papers, articles, and speeches on what was happening in Bos- 
nia. There began to emerge a rather diverse group of people who had 
opposed earlier U.S. invasions, sanctions, and wars. As subsequent 
events have shown, they saw more clearly than others where U.S. 
policy toward Yugoslavia was headed. 

Long before NATO troops were stationed in Bosnia and the 
open-ended U.S. military occupation began, this small research group 
began to meet. It included at different times Sean Gervasi, Sara 
Flounders, Gary Wilson, Nadja Tesich, Lenora and Herb Focrstel, 
Barry Lituchy, and Heather Cottin. They began to exchange informa- 
tion and research. News clippings from international sources, U.S. 
foreign policy documents, old documents released under the Freedom 
of Information Act, and UN Security Council Resolutions were pho- 
tocopied and shared. A clearer picture emerged of the competing 
Western interests in the region and their role in orchestrating the 
breakup of Yugoslavia. Many of these eye-opening documents are 
cited in this book. 

Contact developed with individuals and newly formed groups 
in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Scan Gervasi's work in Belgrade 
and New York was an invaluable link. Jean Toshi Marazzani-Visconti 
in Milan translated articles, arranged interviews, and contacted groups 
throughout Europe. The magazines Balkans Infos in Paris and LM in 
London, plus research by Thomas Deichmann in Germany, Michel 
Chossudovsky in Ontario, and Peter Brock in Washington, DC, en- 
riched the information and analysis. Gary Wilson in New York, Rich- 
ard Becker in San Francisco, and Peter Makara in Albany scanned the 
Internet for news sources, helping to post and circulate articles as well 
as information about protest activities. 

Many forums, teach-ins, and protests were organized. The 
chapters of this book were a living part of this development. The ma- 
terials were selected from articles and speeches of the past few years. 



vii 



The Peoples Video Network helped to produce videos based on these 
forums and activities. 

Deirdre Griswold's years of editing experience were invalu- 
able to this process. Her skill helped turn a stack of research papers, 
articles, and talks into a cohesive book. Paddy Colligan contributed to 
the editorial process and coordinated endless aspects of book produc- 
tion, along with proof reading, fact checking, indexing, and generally 
keeping us on course. Janet Mayes joined in proof reading, indexing, 
and spending hours of work on the lAC web page where parts of this 
and other I AC books are posted. Lai Roohk designed the cover and 
publicity for the book. 

Frank Alexander, Kathy Durkin, Marie Jay, Vondora Jordan, 
Joyce Kanowitz, Kadouri Al Kaysi, Ed Lewinson, William Mason, 
Milt Neidenberg, Henri Nereaux, and Deirdre Sinnott performed nu- 
merous backup tasks at the International Action Center that helped 
keep this project going. Hillel Cohen's assistance on mailing lists 
made us better organized. Snezana Vitorovich, Nadja Tesich, and 
Heather Cottin were especially helpful in reaching out to other possi- 
ble supporters. 

This book would not have been possible without the encour- 
agement and financial assistance of the many individuals whose names 
follow. We also want to give special thanks to one anonymous donor. 

We arc particularly grateful for the generous help of Alvin 
Dorfman, Phyllis Lucero, and Family and Friends in Memory of Steve 
Tesich, and for the continuing assistance of the People's Rights Fund. 
Their confidence in us helped begin work that has taken a year to 
complete. 

Special thanks to Heather Cottin; Jean Toschi Marazzani- 
Visconti, Balkans Infos; Milka Stanisic; and Snezana Vitorovich. 

Contributors: Association of Serbian Women; Jesse, Nori, 
and Nona Dorsky. 

Donors: Ruth Dunlap Bartlett, Dr. Zagorka Bresich, C. de 
Maisoncelle, Pierre Djokic, Maria Djonovich, Gregory Elich, B. Ilic, 
Lila Kalinich, M.D., Helen Knezevich Malloy and Robert A. Malloy, 
Radoslav T. Mijanovich, Daniel Mudrinich, Tijana Nikov, Vincent 
Rozyczko, Miijana Sasich, Ethel Shufro, Dr. Alex Srbich, Dr. Bojan 
Stricevic, Dr. Vera M. Stricevic, Dragan D. Vuckovic, Milo Yelesi- 
yevich. 



viii 



Friends: Gayle Al-Maini, Edwin Badura, Estelle Badura, 
Bogdan Baishanski, S.D. Bosnitch, Billie Bubic, Kathie Cerra, Ph.D., 
Josif Djordjovich, Helen Gregory, Lazar Hristic, Dusan Isakovic, 
M.D., Dr. Radoslav Jovanovic, George Kolarovich, George Kolin, 
Mila Lazarevich-Nolan, Yovanka Malkovich, Bernard V Mali- 
nowski, Nina Malinowski, Desanka T. Mamula, George Markham, 
Dobrosav Matiasevic, Dr. G. Milin, Nenad Milinkovic, Annette Milk- 
ovich, Minja Milojkovic, Alexandar Milosavljevic, James Mohn, John 
Philpot, Steven Prescop, Peter Radan, Alexandra Radojevic, Milos 
Raickovich, Negovan Rajic, Veljko J. Rasevic, Jan Reiner, John D. 
Savich, Dusan Stulic, Nikola Stulic, Dr. Vukan R. Vuchic, Sharleen 
Worsfold, Bozo Zdjelar, Nick Zunich. 

Sara Flounders 



ix 



AUTHORS 



Richard Becker is a West Coast coordinator of the International Ac- 
tion Center. In February 1994 he traveled to Iraq with Ramsey Clark 
on an lAC fact-finding delegation. Becker co-produced the video 
"Blockade: The Silent War Against Iraq" and contributed to The 
Children Are Dying. He helped set up the International Commission 
of Inquiry on Economic Sanctions, London, 1995. He is a regular 
commentator on KPFK-FM's "Middle East in Focus" in Los Angeles. 

Michel Chossudovsky is professor of economics, University of Ot- 
tawa. An earlier version of his contribution was presented at "The 
Other Face of the European Project, Alternative Forum to the Euro- 
pean Summit," Madrid, 1995. His latest book. The Globalization of 
Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms was published by 
Third World Net\%ork, Pinang, and Zed Books; it is available in the 
U.S. from St. Martin's Press. 

Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General in the Johnson administration, 
is an international lawyer and human rights advocate. He has opposed 
U.S. military' interventions in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, 
Libya, Somalia, Iraq, the Balkans, and many other countries. Clark 
initiated the International Peace for Cuba Appeal. He is lead counsel 
for Leonard Peltier, prominent Native American political prisoner. He 
has authored or contributed to many books, including Crime in 
America; The Children are Dying: the Impact of Sanctions on Iraq; 
The U.S. Invasion of Panama; and Metal of Dishonor — Depleted 
Uranium. 

Heather Cottin has been a high-school teacher for 32 years. For 40 
years she has been active in the civil rights, anti-war, and women's 
movements, and supported the Chilean and Central American libera- 
tion struggles and the anti-apartheid movement. She is the widow of 
Sean Gervasi and mother of their 13-year-old daughter. She is a union 
activist and member of the Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society. 



X 



Thomas Deichmann is a free-lance journalist and researcher living in 
Frankfurt, Germany. His articles about the Yugoslav crisis have ap- 
peared in numerous European publications and he has become an in- 
ternationally recognized specialist and critic of the Western media. In 
1996 he appeared as an expert witness at the International War 
Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the defense of Dusko 
Tadic. His email address is: Thomas.Deichmann@t-online.de. 

Alvin Dorfinan is an attorney and former Democratic Party State 
Committeeman (18th AD). A former member of the National Govern- 
ing Council of the American Jewish Congress, he is president of the 
Holocaust Survivors Association and the Generation After, and board 
member and treasurer of the Central American Refugee Center on 
Long Island. He was president of Long Island's Coordinating Com- 
mittee for Civil Rights and the Committee in Support of the Missis- 
sippi Freedom Democratic Party. 

Gregory Elich is a political activist and independent researcher who 
has published over two dozen articles on the Balkans and Southeast 
Asia. He works as a database administrator and is a Serbian- 
American. 

Sara Flounders is a co-coordinator of the International Action Center. 
She has organized opposition to the U.S. use of military force and 
economic sanctions in Bosnia, Panama, Somalia, and Iraq. She is the 
organizer of the lACs Depleted Uranium Project and East Coast co- 
ordinator of the Anti-Sanctions Project. She frequently speaks to 
campus and community organizations. 

Lenora Foerstel has been North American Coordinator of Women for 
Mutual Security since 1990 and is on the board of the Women's 
Strike for Peace. She is a cultural historian and has written numerous 
articles, produced films, and recently edited a book entitled Creating 
Surplus Population: The Effect of Military and Corporate Policies 
on Indigenous Peoples. 

Scan Gervasi was an economist, political analyst, and activist. He 
taught at Cambridge, Oxford, the London School of Economics, the 
University of Paris, and Brooklyn College. He helped start the British 



xi 



anti- Vietnam war movement. He worked at the United Nations with 
Sean McBride in the Committee Against Apartheid and the Commis- 
sion on Namibia. He worked in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zam- 
bia, and with the liberation movements of Angola and South Africa. 
Forced out of the UN during the Reagan era, he began to investigate 
the destabilization of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He died in 
1996 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, while working to expose U.S. -German- 
NATO plans to recolonize the region. 

Barry Lituchy teaches modem European history at Kingsborough 
Community College, CUNY He has written numerous articles on the 
Yugoslav crisis and has appeared as a commentator on a number of 
TV and radio programs. In 1995 he filmed interviews with refugees 
from the Krajina and Serbian political figures during the NATO 
bombings. In October 1997 he organized, along with Bernard Klein, 
the First International Conference and Exhibition on the Jasenovac 
Concentration Camp at Kingsborough. 

Sam Marcy is a Marxist theoretician, organizer, and former trade un- 
ionist who has contributed his talents to the socialist and workers' 
movement since the 1920s. Since 1959, he has been a regular con- 
tributor to Workers World newspaper. Marcy has written extensively 
on the problems of the socialist countries, including the pamphlet Im- 
perialist Intrigue in the Breakup of Yugoslavia. Among his books are 
Perestroika: a Marxist Critique and High Tech, Low Pay. His writ- 
ings have been translated into several languages. 

Nadja Tesich, filmmaker, novelist, and playwright, was bom in 
Yugoslavia and has returned regularly for the past 30 years. She made 
even more fi-equent visits in the last six years. She has incorporated 
her own eyewitness observations with those of many other European 
joumalists with her on her trips. She speaks all the languages of the 
area as well as French, Russian, and English. Her new novel Native 
Land is to appear soon. 

Gary Wilson is a joumalist and researcher who has written exten- 
sively on the breakup of Yugoslavia. His articles appear regularly in 
the New York-based vyeekly Workers World newspaper and have 
been reprinted in newspapers in Europe and Asia. 



xii 



Introduction 



This book began as a small pamphlet in October 1995 entitled 
Bosnia Tragedy: The unknown role of the U.S. government and 
Pentagon. It was published by the International Action Center. 
The pamphlet received a great deal of attention among a current 
of anti-war activists who suspect U.S. government motives and 
from Serbian people and others from the region who were 
shocked at being demonized. 

Many people caught up in the war in Bosnia had as- 
sumed the U.S. government would be their friend and protector. 
In Europe there was greater understanding of Germany's his- 
toric role in the Balkans and in the breakup of Yugoslavia. A 
perspective on the complex U.S. role met with great interest. 
The pamphlet was reprinted in whole or in part in French, Ital- 
ian, Dutch, German, Serbian, and Bulgarian. 

As the Pentagon role in the Balkans expanded, so has 
the need for information to challenge its military occupation. 
Over the past five years the International Action Center in New 
York and San Francisco has produced videos, fact sheets, leaf- 
lets, and press releases. Rallies, picket lines, teach-ins, and 
meetings were organized to counter a barrage of media propa- 
ganda clamoring for U.S. intervention. Extensive use of the In- 
ternet, videos for cable-access programs, and many radio talk 
shows helped disseminate this information. 

Most of the chapters in the present collection, NATO in 
the Balkans, were written over the past two to three years as 
the Pentagon blueprint for control of the Balkans unfolded. The 
authors write from various perspectives. Each contributor to the 
book is known as outspoken and has developed a consistent 
position. All share a history of opposition to U. S. intervention. 



2 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



From their vantage points, they describe the real U.S. aims in 
the region and the rivalries among competing major powers. 

Several chapters focus on the role of the media in pro- 
viding sophisticated "Big Lie" war propaganda. It serves to 
cloak the real motives for military intervention and suppress 
popular debate and opposition. Other chapters deal with the 
economic leverage exerted by the International Monetary Fund 
and the World Bank and the strangling effect of sanctions. 

This book is produced with the confidence that it will 
help to arm a new generation of anti-war militants who will 
surely emerge as the full implications of this pernicious policy 
sink in. All the king's horses and all the king's men can't control 
every aspect of life in Bosnia — even though these outside forces 
take charge of the parliamentary elections and physically sdze 
radio and TV stations. 

The occupation of Bosnia by U.S. -led NATO forces 
takes its toll not only on the peoples who are subjugated mili- 
tarily. It also exacts a silent price here in the U.S. The Pentagon 
is soaking up every available dollar that could feed or heal or 
educate or provide employment. And with every dollar it ab- 
sorbs, this military monstrosity grows ever more powerful, ar- 
rogant, and aggressive. 

This is the danger inherent in the military-industrial 
complex. Its goal is to control the destiny of the planet — 
militarily, politically, and economically. It is driven by a raven- 
ous appetite for profits. 

The first person to name it and warn how perilous its 
growth could be was not a radical or a leftist. He was the archi- 
tect of the fusion of industrial production with the military, one 
who nurtured its rise with war profits. 

In 1946 Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff of 
the U.S. Army, drafted a policy statement to the heads of the 
armed forces It laid the basis for linking together the military, 
industry, science, technology, universities, and virtually all other 
spheres of economic and social life. But he was not unaware of 
the dangers lurking in Vvhat he had helped to shape. 



INTRODUCTION 3 



Eisenhower went on to become president of the United 
States. In his last speech before leaving office, he issued a 
warning: "In the councils of government we must guard against 
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or un- 
sought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the 
disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will exist." 

Today the gargantuan proportions to which the military- 
industrial complex has swelled might shock even Eisenhower. In 
a time of "peace," half of all the tax monies in the federal budget 
are earmarked to feed the military machine. The expenses of 
preparing for and making war are funded at the cost of every 
needed social program. Like the sorcerer's appentice, forces 
have been conjured up that cannot be controlled and now have a 
life of their own. 

DREAMS OF GLOBAL MASTERY 

Not only the unchecked size of the Pentagon is menacing. 
Equally fearful are its stated goals — goals that are treated as an 
acceptable cost of "stability " 

Its aims were articulated unabashedly and arrogantly in a 
Pentagon document entitled "The Defense Planning Guide." 
The forty-six-page policy statement was excerpted in a promi- 
nent New York Times article on March 8, 1992. This major pol- 
icy document asserts that the only possible course for the U.S. 
to pursue is complete world domination — militarily and politi- 
cally. And it adds that no other country has the right to aspire to 
a role of leadership, even as a regional power. While this docu- 
ment was quoted extensively, no U.S. official denied or de- 
nounced the report. None even distanced themselves from it. 
This Pentagon policy paper states: 

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a 
new rival. First, the U.S. must show the leader- 
ship necessary to establish and protect a new order 
that holds the promise of convincing potential com- 
petitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or 



4 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their le- 
gitimate interests. 

We must account sufficiently for the interests of the 
advanced industrial nations to discourage them from 
challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the 
established political and economic order. Finally, we 
must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential 
competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or 
global role. 

The document then specifically addresses the Pentagon's de- 
signs on Europe: 

It is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as 
the primary instrument of Western defense and se- 
curity as well as the channel for U.S. influence and 
participation in European security affairs. We 
must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only 
security arrangements which would undermine 
NATO. 

What is most important to maintain is: 

the sense that the world order is ultimately backed 
by the U.S. The U.S. should be postured to act 
independently when collective action cannot be or- 
chestrated. 

The wording of this policy directive for world domina- 
tion could not be clearer or more threatening. But the U.S. con- 
duct in the civil war in Bosnia brings that language to life. 

DAYTON— PAX AMERICANA 

Several chapters in this book were written before the "peace" 
accords were signed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near 
Dayton, Ohio, on November 21, 1995. They predicted that the 
intense but covert U.S. involvement in Bosnia was inexorably 
headed toward a larger military and political commitment. 



INTRODUCTION 5 



The Dayton Accords exposed how far Washington had 
been willing to go to sabotage peace in order to maintain deci- 
sive military control. The documents signed were almost identi- 
cal to two previous "peace" agreements that the U.S. had op- 
posed. But what presumably made the Dayton Accords different 
was that they were to be implemented by NATO — a U.S. -led 
military force. 

The first accord that the U.S. government openly sabo- 
taged had been signed by all the same parties in Lisbon, Portu- 
gal, in March 1 992. The problem was that this agreement was 
brokered by the European Union. Had this agreement, signed 
before the civil war began, been allowed to be implemented, 
how many lives, homes, and futures would have been saved? 

Nor are the Dayton Accords much different than the 
Vance-Owen plan signed in May 1993. That plan was negoti- 
ated by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and former 
British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen, the latter repre- 
senting the European Union and the United Nations. Owen has 
publicly stated that Washington undermined the agreement after 
it was negotiated. The words of the Defense Planning Guide 
haunt these efforts to forestall war: "We must seek to prevent 
the emergence of European-only security arrangements which 
would undermine NATO." 

As the ink dried on the Dayton Accords, Newsweek 
magazine of December 4, 1995, described the agreement as 
"less a peace agreement than a declaration of surrender." The 
U.S. -led NATO forces, Newsweek continued, "will have nearly 
colonial powers." 

Indeed, the Dayton Accords explicitly defined the colo- 
nial administration of Bosnia. At its head sits an appointed High 
Representative with full executive powers in all civilian affairs. 
The International Monetary Fund is empowered to appoint and 
run the Bosnian Central Bank in this artificially fabricated state. 
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development di- 
rects the restructuring of the public sector as it sells off assets of 
the state and society. 



6 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



The Pentagon is currently engaged in a "train and equip" 
program based in the Bosnian-Croat federation. This army will 
be equipped with U.S. tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, laser 
sights, trucks, and small arms. No European NATO country is 
involved in this project, according to an Agence France-Presse 
report of September 5, 1997. The "train and equip" program 
comes with a price tag of $100 million. 

As this book goes to press, the U.S. — through its lead- 
ing role in the NATO occupation — is still exerting its military 
prowess in an attempt to control Bosnia and the Balkans as a 
whole. Its troops are intervening in municipal elections and 
threatening to destroy any radio or television station or newspa- 
per that criticizes NATO's presence in Bosnia. NATO com- 
manders have overruled decisions by Serbia's High Court and 
have overturned the very parliament whose election they pre- 
sided over. 

Now NATO Commander General Wesley K. Clark has 
announced that U.S. "peace-keepers" will use lethal force 
against Serbians who throw stones at the occupying troops. 

SLIPPING INTO THE VIETNAM QUAGMIRE 

In 1995, President Clinton promised that U.S. soldiers stationed 
in Bosnia would be home by December 1996. Now they are 
slated to stay in place until at least July 1998. And, in a carefully 
crafted campaign with letters and ads, pro-Pentagon organiza- 
tions, think tanks, and so-called humanitarian groups are pres- 
suring for a military presence in Bosnia far past that date. 

How reminiscent these hollow promises to "bring the 
troops home" are of another president and another war. Three 
decades ago, then-U.S. President Lyndon Johnson swore the 
troops would be back from Vietnam by Christmas. His empty 
assurances were followed by a decade of bloody war, the devas- 
tation of all Indochina, casualties totaling three million Viet- 
namese and fifty-eight thousand U.S. soldiers, and countless 
injuries. 



INTRODUCTION 7 



U.S. troops in Bosnia mean a large new NATO base in 
Hungary, just over the border. The price tag for building and 
maintaining this base is in addition to the $5.5 billion cost of 
maintaining troops in Bosnia. NATO troops are now based in 
Croatia, Macedonia, and Albania. Tens of thousands of U.S. 
troops remain in Germany. An "Air Expeditionary Force" of 
eighteen F-16 fighter bombers is stationed at the NATO base in 
Aviano, Italy. The bombers are positioned to resume the 4,400 
bombing sorties that forced the Serbs to accept the Dayton Ac- 
cords. 

THE COST OF JOINING THE CLUB 

The overall cost of the expansion of NATO is estimated to cost 
$60 to $100 billion. A bonanza for the military contractors. 
Who will pay? Old Warsaw Pact weapons are considered obso- 
lete. Tanks, aircraft, and communications systems must be in- 
terchangeable with NATO equipment. The new NATO mem- 
bers — Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic — will fork 
over half of their annual national budgets for the next decade for 
weapons procurement. 

No other regional powers will be tolerated. That was the 
message delivered by NATO war "games" held in the Black Sea 
in July 1996. The ships, marine units, and assault helicopters 
used in the Kazakhstan war "games" on September 15, 1997, 
underlined the point. "The message I would leave is that there is 
no nation on the face of the earth that we cannot get to," blus- 
tered NATO Commander General John Sheehan. 

WHO ARE THE WAR CRIMINALS? 

But U.S. finance capital doesn't expect to rule the region with 
guns and troops alone. Along with the military occupation, the 
U.S. is establishing a new legal framework that bolsters its 
moves to dominate the globe: the War Crimes Tribunal. 



8 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Several chapters in this book deal with the issue of war 
crimes. The authors discuss how the charge of war crimes 
served to justify U.S. intervention. 

The UN Security Council, acting for the prosecution, 
can now arrest and kidnap anyone in any country. It can decide 
who can run for office, and even remove government officials. 
Individuals facing charges have no right to block their extradi- 
tion, to cross-examine their accusers — or even know their 
identity. The tribunal is empowered to demand of any country 
that it hand over any one of its citizens — even heads of state. 

This tribunal was established as a subcommittee of the 
United Nations Security Council, in which the U.S. rules the 
roost. It is not under the aegis of the General Assembly, the 
World Court, or any other more representative body. 

The Security Council now claims the right to decide in 
which countries it will set up tribunals, to define the charges, 
and to select the judges. This enormous power eclipses the sov- 
ereign rights of nations, tramples international law, and over- 
rides any standard of civil rights. 

Because of their veto power on the Security Council, 
the very imperialist powers most responsible for war crimes in 
the past fifty years since the creation of the United Nations will 
be immune to prosecution. 

Any activist who took to the streets to oppose U.S. 
genocide in Vietnam, its massive bombardment of Iraq, and its 
invasions of Panama, Grenada, Lebanon, and Somalia will be 
outraged at the very idea of a court that places oppressed peo- 
ples in the dock for war crimes while granting immunity to the 
world's most powerfiil aggressor. 

The Pentagon generals insist they can fight two or three 
wars on different fronts at the same time. But they station U.S. 
troops and weapons in a hundred countries around the globe. 
They have no interest in substantially improving the lives of the 
people there. Instead, they expect to control the globe through 
repressive force and destabilization. Their objective is simply to 
secure the investments of U.S. corporations. 



INTRODUCTION 9 



The NATO military presence will increasingly be a tar- 
get of angry demonstrations, not only in Bosnia but throughout 
the whole region. The area is in an upheaval, experiencing the 
chaos of the capitalist market. Millions of dollars being spent on 
war games and military maneuvers may only enrage a popula- 
tion where millions of people have gone without a paycheck for 
months. For example, in August of 1997 thousands demon- 
strated in the Ukraine against NATO maneuvers. 

The Pentagon generals should look at their history 
books to see how ineffective even a large and brutal military 
occupation can be. The massive Nazi occupation of the Balkans 
during World War II could not crush the resistance once it 
started. The experience of the Pentagon in Vietnam, Lebanon, 
and Somalia only confirms this. Today's Pentagon generals will 
be taught the same historical lesson. They will reap the whirl- 
wind of popular resistance. 

We hope that NATO in the Balkans will help to fuel the 
imperative demand: "U.S. out of the Balkans — now!" 

Sara Flounders 
November 1997 



PART ONE 

WHAT I S NATO 
PLANNING? 



1 U.S. and NATO plans 
to divide Yugoslavia 



RAMSEY CLARK* 



The first time I went to Yugoslavia — as it was then called — I 
got shot at, literally. It was 1946, and it was either August or 
September. I was an eighteen-year-old Marine getting ready to 
be discharged and flying courier service. The week I went in, 
two C47s had been shot down by ground anti-aircraft fire. We 
were flying in and you looked out and there were bursts all 
around. And you think, my God, these are belligerent people 
down there. What was going on? What the hell was I doing 
there? 

Today I had a meeting for about an hour with a Bulgar- 
ian lawyer. He had started out in human rights and had actually 
been justice minister in the early 1990s for about a year. As we 
talked and he told me his perception of what was going on to- 
day, I realized they were right, back in 1946. They should have 
been shooting at me. It wasn't anything personal, but they knew 
what they were doing. They just didn't have enough guns to do 
it, that's all. 

This Bulgarian, who is quite an interesting man, was ap- 
palled at what the United States was doing. He couldn't believe 



This chapter is adapted from a speech given at a teach-in on the U.S. role 
in Bosnia sponsored by the International Action Center and held in New 
York, October 1995. 



14 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



the sanctions on Yugoslavia. They've affected Bulgaria pretty 
drastically. I've driven from Sophia, Bulgaria, to Belgrade twice 
in the last couple of years. It's a beautiful and easy drive — about 
three hours. And they feel the pressure constantly, physically 
and psychologically In fact, sanctions have affected the whole 
area all the way down through Greece. Sixty percent of all 
Greece's exports were trucked into or through Yugoslavia be- 
fore the war. 

The bombing absolutely appalled this Bulgarian lawyer. 
But the most depressing thing he said was, "We just can't un- 
derstand what's going on." Sadly, I think it's pretty easily un- 
derstood, if you can get the pieces together. We need to look at 
the region and the people. They're a sturdy people, they've been 
through a lot for much longer than Europeans have been in this 
country, and they've never been subdued. 

They're a creative and energetic people. They're over- 
whelmingly a happy people. They make good wine and good 
music, and good talk — if you've got a translator, in my case. 
They love to sit around and talk in the evening. 

There's a book I find helpful in understanding Yugosla- 
via. It deals with the history of the region from the time that the 
Ottomans came in. It's told in an ingenious way— through the 
history and story of a bridge. The building of the bridge, the 
lives on the bridge, the loves of the bridge, the suicides off the 
bridge, the fights on the bridge — and the final dynamiting of the 
bridge at the beginning of World War I. It's called A Bridge on 
the Drina and was written by Ivo Andric, Nobel Laureate. Most 
Nobel Laureates are and should be forgotten. But here's a man 
who really understood the history and the people and wanted to 
give us some sense of what it was like. 

The people lived together through Ottoman power and 
Austro-Hungarian power — five hundred years. They did and 
can live together. That didn't mean it was all a bed of roses, but 
in terms of internal violence, it was peacefial compared to what 
we see now. 



RAMSEY CLARK I 5 



Yugoslavia was an idea. There are not too many coun- 
tries that are created as an idea — other than those the oil com- 
panies created. But the idea was, we need a federation. In this 
little microcosm of so many peoples and cultures of the world, 
we need a way to function together and live together and pre- 
vail together. 

It was a strange idea and it was hard to work with. The 
idea had many enemies from the beginning, because that would 
make the area hard to exploit. If the Caribbean can't do it and 
Central America can't — then those small countries have no 
chance, in my opinion, except total exploitation. They face a 
future of free trade zones like Bob Herbert wrote about in the 
New York Times, where women work ten to twelve hours a day 
and can't feed their children or themselves. The Gap and Liz 
Claiborne and other corporations are selling the stuff they're 
putting together for slave wages and aren't paying any taxes 
there. 

Yugoslavia had one of the worst experiences in World 
War II. It's not commonly told. But there was a major killing 
camp — concentration camp, as we tend to call them — at 
Jasenovac in the Nazi state of Croatia, according to a very de- 
tailed, elaborately researched book called TTie Yugoslav 
Auschwitz. It's by Vladimir Dedijer, a really interesting man I've 
had the good fortune to know for many years. He was vice 
chairman of the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal and also 
wrote a major biography of Tito, with some understanding of 
what was accomplished in the Yugoslav Federation after World 
War II. His research on the slaughter of the Serbs came out in a 
new reprint in the United States recently. 

It is a document of basic historic importance. Many of 
the children of those killed, and even some of those interned, 
are still alive. Without a federation to protect them living with 
each other, it wouldn't be easy, and everybody knew that. 

Don't think that NATO isn't planning the map of 
Europe every day, knowing exactly what it wants it to look like. 
Don't think they don't know the composition of the peoples. 



16 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



the physical terrain and the natural resources, the industry and 
all the rest. They're working on it constantly. 

And if you think a country is too small for them to be 
interested in, you just haven't seen anything. Was Grenada big- 
ger? There's never been a military engagement in history where 
so many armed troops went so far to attack so few. A people 
with no defense. The Pentagon inflicted more casualties per 
capita on the Grenadian population than the United States lost 
in World War II. 

Don't think there's not a purpose to it. Not long after 
Tito died, as the influence of the Soviet Union declined and its 
capacity to intervene in anything became negligible — which 
made the Gulf War possible — the plans to divide Yugoslavia 
were under way. There can't be any doubt about that. Just look 
at our legislation, look at what so many people have said in 
memoirs and other things. The plans were under way. 

And there are lots of interests in there. In Slovenia there 
are over one million Italians. Slovenia and Croatia are the richer 
parts of the country. We can talk about the success of the fed- 
eration in terms of the basic quality of life. The people had food, 
clothing, education, housing, and things like that. In terms of 
per capita income it was a Third World nation, richer in the 
north than in the south. Slovenia had about $9,500 per capita 
income, Croatia over $7,000, Serbia $3,500, Bosnia less than 
that. Go a bit further south and it's a poor, underdeveloped 
country. 

The purposes of dismantling Yugoslavia have to be un- 
derstood. Germany obviously had a keen interest. Everybody 
knew when it was dismantled there would be hell to pay. The 
United States used ways to direct the violence, and for four or 
five years now the violence has been directed in the way the 
United States likes to fight a war — "You and them fight." 

It's the same way that the Iran- Iraq war went. Remem- 
ber Kissinger's famous statement w/hen the war began: "I hope 
they kill each other." He did everything he could to see that they 



RAMSEY CLARK I 7 



did. And about a million young men — some very young, thirteen 
to fourteen years old — lost their lives. 

In Yugoslavia, the purpose is, among others, to consoli- 
date NATO and European control in the richer northern part of 
the former Yugoslavia, to cripple for a long time the Serbian 
people, and to debilitate as deeply as possible the Muslims. 

One of the real ironies of United States' treachery is in 
the Muslim world. There are a billion and a half Muslims on the 
planet. They cheer U.S. aid and Israeli support, as they see it, 
for the Muslims in Bosnia. But who's getting killed? Who's 
getting the living daylights bombed out of them? 

It's not as bad as all that. General Charles G. Boyd, a 
full four-star general and former deputy European commander 
for U.S. forces, wrote in Foreign Affairs that in 1994 in Sara- 
jevo — which we think of as one of the most violent places in the 
world today — the total number of deaths from gunfire on all 
sides, friendly fire, unfriendly fire, whatever it is, is lower than 
the murder rate in Washington, D.C. I don't mean to put that 
down, that's tragic, but we have to have a sense of proportion, 
and that's the fact. 

General Boyd pointed out, "Half of the Slavs [Serbs] 
have been driven out of what we call Bosnia." They're gone. A 
good many are dead, and a good many are refugees in all kinds 
of uncomfortable places, exiled from their homeland. We have 
to realize what is happening. We're coming toward a NATO- 
developed buffer that will include northern-oriented, Austro- 
Hungarian participants as a part of the north, and a vast debili- 
tation of Muslims and a vaster debilitation of Serbs. 

We don't think much about the sanctions, but the sanc- 
tions are more deadly than the bombing in this war. The same 
was true in the Gulf War. The United States dropped 88,500 
tons of bombs in Iraq — one every thirty seconds for forty-two 
days. But that killed far fewer people than the sanctions have. 
There are four million people in Iraq today on the brink of death 
because of the sanctions. Already, seven hundred thousand 
people have died from the sanctions. 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



If you look at the people in Belgrade and other cities 
and towns of Serbia, Yugoslavia, you see deprivation and se- 
vere malnutrition. But there is no malnutrition in Sarajevo, ac- 
cording to General Boyd. Of course, he's right. 

That's how you really break the country down. What 
happens to all those undersized children that survive, who didn't 
get enough nutrition before and after birth? 

Gun supplies to Muslims are restricted. They come 
through Croatia, which is heavily armed. Peter Galbraith is the 
U.S. ambassador there, and he's calling a lot of the shots for 
this over-all plan. He pushed the Serbs down as far as you can, 
and it's related geopolitically as much if not more than eco- 
nomically. 

There's been a lot of talk about the economics of it. 
Fortress Europe is coming back because the rich countries are 
getting richer and the poor countries are getting poorer. It's the 
greatest problem on the planet today, just as the rich are getting 
richer here in our country and the poor are getting poorer. 
They're concerned about the teeming hordes, and they want 
barriers to immigration. 

NATO is more concerned, as is the United States, about 
Islamic fundamentalism, domestically and internationally, than 
any other single threat, probably. That's what the FBI said con- 
stantly in Sheik Omar Abd el-Rahman's case. That's the number 
one priority for the CIA and the FBI. They're terrified about 
these people, they're true believers. 

What the United States is doing is consolidating the 
position of Europe, fortifying it, breaking down not just Serbs, 
but Slavic people as much as possible. Slavs are by far the larg- 
est ethnic group in Europe, bigger than the French, the Ger- 
mans, or anybody else. And they are looked down upon almost 
racially by northern Europe and by too many Americans. 

We have to recognize that these things don't just hap- 
pen, that this is planned and controlled attrition. It will be a 
major policy. There won't be a real cease-fire. You want them 
to kill a few more people. You want them to take it down and 



RAMSEY CLARK I 9 



down and down. Then you send a garrison force in, and the 
people will be miserable. But they'll be rebellious, and there 
won't be peace. We'll have more trouble. 

And we'll have mothers over here like the mothers of 
British Tommies in the north of Ireland. They're getting their 
sons home in boxes and wondering what in the world they were 
doing there anyway, because they should never have been there. 
And the U.S. should never have been planning these things. It 
should never have participated in these things. Those of us who 
live here have an absolute moral obligation to see that it ends 
now — there and everywhere. 

We knew what's coming out now about Central Amer- 
ica, but no one could prove it. Battalion 316 in Honduras, 
trained here, directed from here, killing people all over the place 
to undermine the FSLN in Nicaragua, to support the contras 
and all the rest. The systematic carnage in Guatemala, which we 
have generally attributed to the Guatemalan elite, had the direct 
participation of the U.S. CIA. They thought; How do you take 
care of these restless natives if you don't control them and kill 
them and impoverish them? 

There will be a billion more people on the planet in the 
next four to five years. And the vast majority are going to have 
beautiful, dark skin and live short, miserable lives of violence 
and hunger and sickness and poverty, unless we act radically 
here. In Bosnia obviously we've got to move for a major fed- 
eration of the whole Balkan peninsula that can give them an op- 
portunity to construct their own lives in the way they choose 
without outside interference. But because of the tragic history 
that others have imposed on them, we will need a Marshall Plan 
of enormous magnitude to help them rebuild their lives If we 
do that, we can hope to have some bearable conscience in some 
peaceable future. 



2 Why is NATO 
in Yugoslavia? 



Sean Gervasi* 



The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large 
task force into Yugoslavia, ostensibly to enforce a settlement of 
the Bosnian war arrived at in Dayton, Ohio, at the end of 1995. 
This task force is said to consist of some sixty thousand men, 
equipped with tanks, armor, and artillery. It is backed by formi- 
dable air and naval forces. In fact, if one takes account of all the 
support forces involved, including forces deployed in nearby 
countries, it is clear that on the order of one hundred and fifty 
thousand troops are involved. This figure has been confirmed by 
U.S. defense sources.' 

By any standards, the sending of a large Western mili- 
tary force into Central and Eastern Europe is a remarkable en- 
terprise, even in the fluid situation created by the supposed end 
of the Cold War. The Balkan task force represents not only the 
first major NATO military operation, but a major operation 
staged "out of area," that is, outside the boundaries originally 
established for NATO military action. 

However, the sending of NATO troops into the Balkans 
is the result of enormous pressure for the general extension of 
NATO eastwards. 



This chapter is based on a paper presented to a conference in Prague, 
Czech Repubhc, on 13-14 January 1996. 



SEAN GERVASI 



If the Yugoslav enterprise is the first concrete step in the 
expansion of NATO, others are planned for the near future. 
Some Western powers want to bring the Visegrad countries^ 
into NATO as full members by the end of the century. There 
was resistance to the pressures for such extension among cer- 
tain Western countries for some time. However, the recalci- 
trants have now been bludgeoned into accepting the alleged ne- 
cessity of extending NATO. 

The question is: Why are the Western powers pressing 
for the expansion of NATO? Why is NATO being renewed and 
extended when the "Soviet threat" has disappeared? There is 
clearly much more to it than we have so fer been told. The en- 
forcement of a precarious peace in Bosnia is only the immediate 
reason for sending NATO forces into the Balkans. 

There are deeper reasons for the dispatch of NATO 
forces to the Balkans, and especially for the extension of NATO 
to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in the relatively 
near future. These have to do with an emerging strategy for se- 
curing the resources of the Caspian Sea region and for 
"stabilizing" the countries of Eastern Europe — ultimately for 
"stabilizing" Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of 
Independent States. This is, to put it mildly, an extremely ambi- 
tious and potentially self-contradictory policy. And it is impor- 
tant to pose some basic questions about the reasons being given 
for pursuing it. 

The idea of "stabilizing" the countries which formerly 
constituted the socialist bloc in Europe does not simply mean 
ensuring political stability there, ensuring that the regimes which 
replaced socialism remain in place. It also means ensuring that 
economic and social conditions remain unchanged. And, since 
the so-called transition to democracy in the countries affected 
has in fact led to an incipient deindustrialization and a collapse 
of living standards for the majority, the question arises whether 
it is really desirable. 

The question is all the more pertinent since "stabiliza- 
tion," in the sense in which it is used in the West, means repro- 



22 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



ducing in the former socialist-bloc countries economic and so- 
cial conditions which are similar to the economic and social 
conditions currently prevailing in the West. The economies of 
the Western industrial nations are, in fact, in a state of semi- 
collapse, although the governments of those countries would 
never really acknowledge the fact. Nonetheless, any reasonably 
objective assessment of the economic situation in the West leads 
to this conclusion. And that conclusion is supported by official 
statistics and most analyses coming from mainstream econo- 
mists. 

It is also clear, as well, that the attempt to "stabilize" the 
former socialist-bloc countries is creating considerable tension 
with Russia, and potentially with other countries. Not a few 
commentators have made the point that Western actions in ex- 
tending NATO even raise the risks of nuclear conflict.^ 

It is enough to raise these questions briefly to see that 
the extension of NATO which has, de facto, begun in Yugosla- 
via and is being proposed for other countries is to a large extent 
based on confused and even irrational reasoning. One is tempted 
to say that it results from the fear and willfulness of certain rul- 
ing groups To put it most bluntly, why should the world see 
any benefit in the enforced extension to other countries of the 
economic and social chaos which prevails in the West, and why 
should it see any benefit in that when the very process itself in- 
creases the risks of nuclear war? 

The purposes of this paper are to describe what lies be- 
hind the current efforts to extend NATO and to raise some basic 
questions about whether this makes any sense, in both the nar- 
row and deeper meanings of the term. 

NATO IN YUGOSLAVIA 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 
with the stated purpose of protecting Western Europe from 
possible military aggression by the Soviet Union and its allies. 

With the dissolution of the Communist regimes in the 
former socialist bloc in 1990 and 1991, there was no longer any 



SEAN CERVASI 



23 



possibility of such aggression, if there ever really had been. The 
changes in the former Communist countries made NATO re- 
dundant. Its raison d'etre had vanished. Yet certain groups 
within the NATO countries began almost immediately to press 
for a "renovation" of NATO and even for its extension into 
Central and Eastern Europe. They began to elaborate new ra- 
tionales which would permit the continuation of business as 
usual. 

The most important of these was the idea that, with the 
changes brought about by the end of the Cold War, the Western 
countries nonetheless faced new "security challenges" outside 
the traditional NATO area which justified the perpetuation of 
the organization. The spokespersons for this point of view ar- 
gued that NATO had to find new missions to justify its exis- 
tence. 

The implicit premise was that NATO had to be pre- 
served in order to ensure the leadership of the United States in 
European and world affairs. This was certainly one of the rea- 
sons behind the large-scale Western intervention — in which the 
participation of U.S. NATO partners was relatively meager — in 
Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 and 1991. The coalition which fought 
against Iraq was cobbled together with great difficulty. But it 
was seen by the United States government as necessary for the 
credibility of the U.S. within the Western alliance as well as in 
world affairs. 

The slogan put forward by the early supporters of 
NATO enlargement was "NATO: out of area or out of busi- 
ness," which made the point, although not the argument, as 
plainly as it could be made."* 

Yugoslavia has also been a test case, and obviously a 
much more important one. The Yugoslav crisis exploded on the 
edge of Europe, and the Western European nations had to do 
something about it. Germany and the United States, on the 
other hand, while seeming to support the idea of ending the civil 
wars in Yugoslavia, in fact did everything they could to prolong 



24 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



them, especially the war in Bosnia. Their actions perpetuated 
and steadily deepened the Yugoslav crisis. 

It is important to recognize that almost from the begin- 
ning of the Yugoslav crisis, NATO sought to involve itself That 
involvement was obvious in 1993 when NATO began to sup- 
port United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) operations 
in Yugoslavia, especially in the matter of the blockade against 
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the enforcement of a 
no-fly zone in Bosnian airspace. 

That involvement, however, had much smaller begin- 
nings, and it must be remembered that NATO as an organiza- 
tion was involved in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina at a very 
early stage. In 1992, NATO sent a group of about 100 person- 
nel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where they established a military 
headquarters at Kiseljak, a short distance from Sarajevo. Os- 
tensibly, they were sent to help United Nations forces in Bosnia. 

It was obvious, however, that there was another pur- 
pose. A NATO diplomat described the operation to Intelligence 
Digest in the following terms at the time; 

This is a very cautious first step, and we are defi- 
nitely not making much noise about it. But it could be 
the start of something bigger. You could argue 
that NATO now has a foot in the door. Whether we 
manage to open the door is not sure, but we have 
made a start. ^ 

It seems clear that NATO commanders were already 
anticipating the possibility that resistance to U.S. and German 
pressures would be overcome and that NATO's role in Yugo- 
slavia would be gradually expanded. 

Thus NATO was working to create a major "out-of- 
area" mission almost from the beginning of the war in Bosnia- 
Herzegovina. The recent dispatch of tens of thousands of troops 
to Bosnia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia is thus simply 
the culmination of a process that began almost four years ago. It 
was not a question of proposals and conferences. It was a ques- 
tion of inventing ofjerations which, with the backing of key 



SEAN GERVASI 



25 



countries, could eventually lead to NATO's active engagement 
"out of area," and thus to its own renovation. 

EASTWARD EXPANSION OF NATO 

NATO had never carried out a formal study on the enlargement 
of the alliance until quite recently, when the Working Group on 
NATO Enlargement issued its report. No doubt there were in- 
ternal classified studies, but nothing is known of their content to 
outsiders. 

Despite the lack of clear analysis, however, the engines 
for moving things forward were working hard from late 1991. 
At the end of that year, NATO created the North Atlantic Co- 
operation Council. NATO member nations then invited nine 
Central and East European countries to join the NACC in order 
to begin fostering cooperation between the NATO powers and 
former members of the Warsaw Pact. 

This was a first effort to offer something to East Euro- 
pean countries wishing to join NATO itself The NACC, how- 
ever, did not really satisfy the demands of those countries, and 
in the beginning of 1994 the U.S. launched the idea of a Part- 
nership for Peace. The PFP offered nations wishing to join 
NATO the possibility of cooperating in various NATO activi- 
ties, including training exercises and peacekeeping. More than 
twenty countries, including Russia, are now participating in the 
PFP 

Many of these countries wish eventually to join NATO. 
Russia obviously will not join. It believes that NATO should not 
be moving eastwards. According to the Center for Defense In- 
formation in Washington, a respected independent research 
center on military affairs, Russia is participating in the PFP "to 
avoid being shut out of the European security structure alto- 
gether."' 

The movement toward the enlargement of NATO has 
therefore been steadily gathering momentum. The creation of 
the North Atlantic Cooperation Council was more or less an 
expression of sympathy and openness toward those aspiring to 



26 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



NATO membership. But it did not carry things very far. The 
creation of the Partnership for Peace was more concrete. It ac- 
tually involved former Warsaw Pact members in NATO itself It 
also began a "two-track" policy toward Russia, in which Russia 
was given a more or less empty relationship with NATO simply 
to allay its concerns about NATO expansion. 

However, despite this continuous development, the pub- 
lic rationale for this expansion has for the most part rested on 
fairly vague premises. And this leads to the question of what has 
been driving the expansion of NATO during the last four years. 
The question must be posed for two areas: the Balkans and the 
countries of Central Europe. For there is an important struggle 
going on in the Balkans, a struggle for mastery of the southern 
Balkans in particular. And NATO is now involved in that 
struggle. There is also, of course, a new drift back to Cold War 
policies on the part of certain Western countries. And that drift 
is carrying NATO into Central Europe. 

STRUGGLE FOR MASTERY IN THE BALKANS 

We have been witnessing, since 1990, a long and agonizing cri- 
sis in Yugoslavia. It has brought the deaths of tens of thou- 
sands, driven perhaps two million people from their homes, and 
caused tunnoil in the Balkan region. And in the West it is gen- 
erally believed that this crisis, including the civil wars in Croatia 
and Bosnia-Herzegovina, was the result of internal Yugoslav 
conflicts, and specifically of conflicts among Croats, Serbs, and 
Bosnian Muslims. This is far fi-om the essence of the matter. 

The main problem in Yugoslavia, from the first, was 
foreign intervention in the country's internal affairs. Two West- 
em powers, the United States and Germany, deliberately con- 
trived to destabilize and then dismantle the country. The process 
was in full swing in the 1980s and accelerated as the present 
decade began. These powers carefiilly planned, prepared, and 
assisted the secessions which broke Yugoslavia apart. And they 
did almost everything in their power to expand and prolong the 
civil wars which began in Croatia and then continued in Bosnia- 



SEAN CERVASI 



27 



Herzegovina. They were involved behind the scenes at every 
stage of the crisis. 

Foreign intervention was designed to create precisely the 
conflicts which the Western powers decried. For they also con- 
veniently served as an excuse for overt intervention once civil 
wars were under way. 

Such ideas are, of course, anathema in Western coun- 
tries. That is only because the public in the West has been sys- 
tematically misinformed by war propaganda. It accepted almost 
from the beginning the version of events promulgated by gov- 
ernments and disseminated through the mass media. It is none- 
theless true that Germany and the U. S. were the principal agents 
in dismantling Yugoslavia and sowing chaos there. 

This is an ugly fact in the new age of realpolitik and 
geopolitical struggles which has succeeded the Cold War order. 
Intelligence sources have begun recently to allude to this reality 
in a surprisingly open manner. In the summer of 1995, for in- 
stance, Intelligence Digest, a respected newsletter published in 
Great Britain, reported that "The original U.S. -German design 
for the former Yugoslavia [included] an independent Muslim- 
Croat dominated Bosnia-Herzegovina in alliance with an inde- 
pendent Croatia and alongside a greatly weakened Serbia."' 

Every senior official in most Western governments 
knows this description to be absolutely accurate. And this 
means, of course, that the standard descriptions of "Serbian ag- 
gression" as the root cause of the problem, the descriptions of 
Croatia as a "new democracy," etc., are not just untrue but ac- 
tually designed to deceive. 

But why? Why should the media seek to deceive the 
Western public? It was not simply that blatant and large-scale 
intervention in Yugoslav affairs had to be hidden from public 
view. It was also that people would ask questions about why 
Germany and the U.S. deliberately created havoc in the Balkans. 
Inevitably, they would want to know the reasons for such ac- 
tions. And these had to be hidden even more carefully than the 
destructive actions of great powers. 



28 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



At root, the problem was that the United States had an 
extremely ambitious plan for the whole of Europe. It is now 
stated quite openly that the U.S. considers itself a "European 
power." In the 1980s, this assertion could not be made so eas- 
ily. That would have caused too much dissension among West- 
ern allies. But the U.S. drive to establish its domination in 
Europe was nonetheless a fact. And the United States was al- 
ready planning what is now openly talked about. 

Quite recently, Richard Holbrooke, the Assistant Secre- 
tary of State for European Affairs, made the official position 
clear. In a recent article in the influential journal Foreign Af- 
fairs, he not only described the United States as a "European 
power" but also outlined his government's ambitious plans for 
the whole of Europe. Referring to the system of collective se- 
curity, including NATO, which the U.S. and its allies created 
after World War II, Mr. Holbrooke said, 

Tliis time, the United States must lead in the creation 
of a security architecture that includes and thereby 
stabilizes all of Europe — the West, the former Soviet 
satellites of Central Europe and, most critically, 
Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union.' 

In short, it is now official policy to move towards the 
integration of all of Europe under a Western political and eco- 
nomic system, and to do so through the exercise of "American 
leadership." This is simply a polite, and misleading, way of 
talking about the incorporation of the former socialist countries 
into a vast new empire.' 

It should not be surprising that the rest of Mr. Hol- 
brooke's article is about the necessity of expanding NATO, es- 
pecially into Central Europe, in order to ensure the "stability" of 
the whole of Europe. Mr. Holbrooke states that the "expansion 
of NATO is an essential consequence of the raising of the Iron 
Curtain."'" 



SEAN CERVASI 



29 



Thus, behind the repeated interventions in the Yugoslav 
crisis, there lay long-term strategic plans for the whole of 
Europe. 

As part of this evolving scheme, Germany and the U S, 
originally determined to forge a new Balkan order, one based on 
the market organization of economies and parliamentary democ- 
racy. They wanted to put a definitive end to socialism in the 
Balkans." Ostensibly, they wanted to "foster democracy" by 
encouraging assertions of independence, as in Croatia. In real- 
ity, this was merely a ploy for breaking up the Balkans into 
small and vulnerable countries. Under the guise of "fostering 
democracy," the way was being opened to the recolonization of 
the Balkans. 

By 1990, most of the countries of Eastern Europe had 
yielded to Western pressures to establish what were mislead- 
ingly called "reforms." Some had accepted all the Western 
conditions for aid and trade. Some, notably Bulgaria and Ro- 
mania, had only partially accepted them. 

In Yugoslavia, however, there was resistance. The 1990 
elections in Serbia and Montenegro kept a socialist or social- 
democratic party in power. The federal government thus re- 
mained in the hands of politicians who, although they yielded to 
pressures for "reforms" from time to time, were nevertheless 
opposed to the recolonization of the Balkans. And many of 
them were opposed to the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Since 
the third Yugoslavia, formed in the spring of 1992, had an in- 
dustrial base and a large army, that country had to be destroyed. 

From the German point of view, this was nothing more 
than the continuation of a policy pursued by the Kaiser and then 
by the Nazis. 

Once Yugoslavia was dismantled and thrown into chaos, 
it was possible to begin reorganizing this central part of the 
Balkans. Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina were to be 
brought into a German sphere of interest. Germany acquired 
access to the sea on the Adriatic, and potentially, in the event 
that the Serbs could be overwhelmed, to the new Rhine-Danube 



30 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



canal, a route which can now carry three-thousand-ton ships 
from the North Sea into the Black Sea. The southern reaches of 
Yugoslavia were to fall into an American sphere of interest. 
Macedonia, which commands the only east-west and north- 
south passages across the Balkan mountains, was to be the 
centerpiece of an American region. 

But the American sphere would also include Albania 
and, if those regions could be stripped away from Serbia, the 
Sanjak and Kosovo. Some American planners have even talked 
of the eventual emergence of a Greater Albania, under U.S. and 
Turkish tutelage, which would comprise a chain of small Mus- 
lim states, possibly including Bosnia-Herzegovina, with access 
to the Adriatic. 

Not surprisingly, Germany and the U.S., although they 
worked in concert to bring about the dismantling of Yugoslavia, 
are now struggling for control of various parts of that country, 
notably Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In fact, there is con- 
siderable jockeying for influence and commercial advantage 
throughout the Balkans.'^ Most of this competition is between 
Germany and the U.S., the partners who tore Yugoslavia apart. 
But important companies and banks from other European 
countries are also participating. The situation is similar to that 
created in Czechoslovakia by the Munich Agreement in 1938. 
Agreement was reached on a division of the spoils in order to 
avoid clashes which would lead immediately to war. 

NEW 'GREAT GAME" IN THE CASPIAN SEA 

Yugoslavia is significant not just for its own position on the 
map, but also for the areas to which it allows access. And influ- 
ential American analysts believe that it lies close to a zone of 
vital U. S. interests, the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region. 

This may be the real significance of the NATO task 
force in Yugoslavia. 

The United States is now seeking to consolidate a new 
European-Middle fiastem bloc of nations. It is presenting itself 
as the leader of an informal grouping of Muslim countries 



SEAN GERVASI 



Stretching from the Persian Gulf into the Balkans. This grouping 
includes Turkey, which is of pivotal importance in the emerging 
new bloc. Turkey is not just a part of the southern Balkans and 
an A^ean power. It also borders on Iraq, Iran, and Syria. It 
thus connects southern Europe to the Middle East, where the 
U.S. considers that it has vital interests. 

The U.S. hopes to expand this informal alliance with 
Muslim states in the Middle East and southern Europe to in- 
clude some of the new nations on the southern rim of the former 
Soviet Union. 

The reasons are not far to seek. The U.S. now conceives 
of itself as being engaged in a new race for world resources. Oil 
is especially important in this race. With the war against Iraq, 
the U.S. established itself in the Middle East more securely than 
ever. The almost simultaneous disintegration of the Soviet Un- 
ion opened the possibility of Western exploitation of the oil re- 
sources of the Caspian Sea region. 

This region is extremely rich in oil and gas resources. 
Some Western analysts believe that it could become as impor- 
tant to the West as the Persian Gulf 

Countries like Kazakhstan have enormous oil deposits. 
Its recoverable reserves probably exceed nine billion barrels. 
Kazakhstan could probably pump seven hundred thousand bar- 
rels a day. The problem, as in other countries of the region, at 
least from the perspective of Western countries, has been to get 
the oil and gas resources out of the region and to the West by 
safe routes. 

The movement of this oil and gas is not simply a techni- 
cal problem. It is also political. It is of crucial importance to the 
U.S. and to other Western countries today to maintain friendly 
relations with countries like Kazakhstan. It is even more impor- 
tant that they know that any rights acquired, to pump petroleum 
or to build pipelines to transport it, will be absolutely respected 
since the amounts projected for investment in the region are 
very large. 



32 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



What this means is that Western producers, banks, pipe- 
line companies, etc., want to be assured of "political stability" in 
the region. They want to be assured that there will be no politi- 
cal changes which would threaten their new interests or poten- 
tial ones. 

An important article in the New York Times recently de- 
scribed what has been called a new "great game" in the region, 
drawing an analogy to the competition between Russia and 
Great Britain in the northwest frontier of the Indian subconti- 
nent in the nineteenth century. The authors of the article wrote 
that 

Now, in the years after the cold war, the United 
States is again establishing suzeraint>' over the empire 
of a former foe. The disintegration of the Soviet Un- 
ion has prompted the United States to expand its zone 
of military hegemony into Eastern Europe (through 
NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia. And 
— most important of all — the end of the cold war has 
permitted America to deepen its involvement in the 
Middle East."" 

Obviously, several reasons prompted Western leaders to 
seek the expansion of NATO. One of these, and an important 
one, has clearly been commercial. 

This becomes more evident as one looks more closely at 
the parallel development of commercial exploitation in the Cas- 
pian Sea region and the movement of NATO into the Balkans. 

On 22 May 1992, the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- 
tion issued a remarkable statement regarding the fighting then 
going on in Transcaucasia. This read in part as follows: 

[The] Allies are profoundly disturbed by the continu- 
ing conflict and loss of life. There can be no solution 
to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh or to the differ- 
ences it has caused between Armenia and Azerbaijan 
by force. Any action against Azerbaijan's or any 
other state's territorial integrity or to achieve political 
goals by fordb would represent a flagrant and unac- 



SEAN GERVASI 



33 



ceptable violation of the principles of international 
law. In particular we [NATO] could not accept that 
the recognized status of Nagorno-Karabakh or Nakh- 
ichevan can be changed unilaterally by force.'"* 

This was a remarkable statement by any standards. For 
NATO was in fact issuing a veiled warning that it might have to 
take "steps" to prevent actions by governments in the Caspian 
Sea region which it construed as threatening vital Western in- 
terests. 

Two days before NATO made this unusual declaration 
of interest in Transcaucasian affairs, an American oil company, 
Chevron, had signed an agreement with the government of 
Kazakhstan for the development of the Tengiz and Korolev oil 
fields in the western part of the country. The negotiations for 
this agreement had been under way for two years prior to its 
being signed. And reliable sources have reported that they were 
in danger of breaking down at the time because of Chevron's 
fears of political instability in the region." 

At the time that NATO made its declaration, of course, 
there would have been little possibility of backing up its warn- 
ing. There was, first of all, no precedent at all for any large, out- 
of-area operation by NATO. NATO forces, fiirthermore, were 
far removed from Transcaucasia. It does not take a long look at 
a map of the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea to 
realize that the situation is changing. 

NEXT STAGE: 'STABILIZING' THE EAST 

The current pressure for the enlargement of NATO to Central 
and Eastern Europe is part of an eflfort to create what is mistak- 
enly called "the new world order." It is the politico-military 
complement of the economic policies initiated by the major 
Western powers and designed to transform Central and East 
European society. 

The United States, Germany, and some of their allies are 
trying to build a truly global order around the North Atlantic 
Basin economy. There is actually nothing very new about the 



34 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



kind of order they are trying to establish. It is to be founded on 
capitalist institutions. What is new is that they are trying to ex- 
tend "the old order" to the vast territories which were thrown 
into chaos by the disintegration of communism. They are also 
trying to incorporate into this "order" countries which wae 
previously not fully a part of it. 

In a word, they are trying to create a functioning capital- 
ist system in countries which have lived under socialism for dec- 
ades, or in countries, such as Angola, which were seeking to 
break free of the capitalist system. 

As they try to establish a "new world order," the major 
Western powers must also think about how to preserve it. So, in 
the final analysis, they must think about extending their military 
power toward the new areas of Europe which they are trying to 
attach to the North Atlantic Basin. Hence the proposed role of 
NATO in the new European order. 

The two principal architects of what might be a new, 
integrated and capitalist Europe are the United States and Ger- 
many. They are working together especially closely on East 
European questions. In effect, they have formed a close alliance 
in which the U.S. expects Germany to help manage not only 
West European but also East European affairs. Germany has 
become, as George Bush put it in Mainz in 1989, a "partner in 
leadership." 

This close relationship ties the U.S. to Germany's vision 
of what German and American analysts are now calling Central 
Europe. It is a vision which calls for: 1) the expansion of the 
European Union to the East; 2) German leadership in Europe; 
and 3) a new division of labor in Europe. 

It is the idea of a new division of labor which is particu- 
larly important. In the German view, Europe will in the future 
be organized in concentric rings around a center, which will be 
Germany. The center will be the most developed region in every 
sense. It will be the most technically developed and the wealthi- 
est. It will have the highest levels of wages, salaries, and per 
capita income. An6 it will undertake only the most profitable 



SEAN CERVASI 



35 



economic activities, those which put it in command of the sys- 
tem. Thus Germany will take charge of industrial planning, de- 
sign, the development of technology, etc., of all the activities 
which will shape and coordinate the activities of other regions. 

As one moves away from the center, each concentric 
ring will have lower levels of development, wealth, and income. 
The ring immediately surrounding Germany will include a great 
deal of profitable manufacturing and service activity. It is meant 
to comprise parts of Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Nether- 
lands, and northern Italy. The general level of income would be 
high, but lower than in Germany. The next ring would include 
the poorer parts of Western Europe and parts of Eastern 
Europe, with some manufacturing, processing, and food pro- 
duction. Wage and salary levels would be significantly lower 
than at the center. 

It goes without saying that, in this scheme of things, 
most areas of Eastern Europe will be in an outer ring. Eastern 
Europe will be a tributary of the center. It will produce some 
manufactured goods, but not primarily for its own consumption. 
Much of its manufacturing, along with raw materials, and even 
food, will be shipped abroad. Moreover, even manufacturing 
will pay low wages and salaries. And the general level of wages 
and salaries, and therefore of incomes, will be lower than they 
have been in the past. 

In short, most of Eastern Europe will be poorer in the 
new, integrated system than it would have been if East Euro- 
pean countries could make their own economic decisions about 
what kind of development to pursue. The only development 
possible in societies exposed to the penetration of powerful 
foreign capital and hemmed in by the rules of the International 
Monetary Fund is dependent development. 

This will also be true of Russia and the other countries 
of the Commonwealth of Independent States — the former So- 
viet Union. They will also become tributaries of the center, and 
there will be no question of Russia pursuing an independent 
path of development. There will obviously be some manufactur- 



36 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



ing in Russia, but there will be no possibility of balanced indus- 
trial development. For the priorities of development will be in- 
creasingly dictated by outsiders. Western corporations are not 
interested in promoting industrial development in Russia, as the 
foreign investment figures show. 

The primary Western interest in the CIS is in the exploi- 
tation of its resources. The breakup of the Soviet Union was 
thus a critical step in opening the possibility of such exploita- 
tion. The former republics of the USSR became much more 
vulnerable once they became independent. Furthermore, West- 
ern corporations are not interested in developing CIS resources 
for local use. They are interested in exporting them to the West. 
This is especially true of gas and petroleum resources. Much of 
the benefit from the export of resources would therefore accrue 
to foreign countries. Large parts of the former Soviet Union are 
likely to find themselves in a situation similar to that of Third 
World countries. 

What Germany is seeking, then, with the support of the 
U.S., is a capitalist rationalization of the entire European econ- 
omy around a powerful German core. Growth and high levels of 
wealth in the core are to be sustained by subordinate activities in 
the periphery The periphery is to produce food and raw mate- 
rials, and manufacture exports for the core and overseas mar- 
kets. Compared to the (Western and Eastern) Europe of the 
1980s, then, the future Europe will be very different, with lower 
and lower levels of development as one moves away from the 
German center. 

Thus many parts of Eastern Europe, as well as much of 
the former Soviet Union, are meant to remain permanently un- 
derdeveloped areas, or relatively underdeveloped areas. Imple- 
mentation of the new division of labor in Europe means that 
they must be locked into economic backwardness. 

For Eastern Europe and the countries of the CIS, the 
creation of an "integrated" Europe within a capitalist framework 
will require a vast restructuring. This restructuring could be 
very profitable forCermany and the U.S. It will mean moving 



SEAN CERVASI 



37 



backwards in time for the parts of Europe being attached to the 
West. 

The nature of the changes under way has already been 
prefigured in the effects of the "reforms" implemented in Russia 
from the early 1990s. It was said, of course, that these 
"reforms" would eventually bring prosperity. This was, how- 
ever, a hollow claim from the beginning. For the "reforms" im- 
plemented at Western insistence were nothing more than the 
usual restructuring imposed by the World Bank and the Inter- 
national Monetary Fund on Third World countries. And they 
have had the same effects. 

The most obvious is the precipitous fall in living stan- 
dards. One third of the population of Russia is now trying to 
survive on income below the official poverty line. Production 
since 1991 has fallen by more than half Inflation is running at 
an annual rate of 200 percent. The life expectancy of a Russian 
male fell from 64.9 years in 1987 to 57.3 years in 1994.'* These 
figures are similar to those for countries like Egypt and Bangla- 
desh. And, in present circumstances, there is really no prospect 
of an improvement in economic and social conditions in Russia. 
Standards of living are actually likely to continue falling. 

Clearly there is widespread and justified anger in Russia 
and in other countries about the collapse of living standards 
which has accompanied the early stages of restructuring. This 
has contributed to a growing political backlash inside Russia 
and other countries. The most obvious recent example may be 
found in the results of the December parliamentary elections in 
Russia. It is also clear that the continuing fall in living standards 
in the future will create further angry reactions. 

Thus the extension of the old world order into Eastern 
Europe and the CIS is a precarious exercise, fraught with uncer- 
tainty and risks. The major Western powers are extremely anx- 
ious that it should succeed, to some extent because they see 
success, which would be defined in terms of the efficient exploi- 
tation of these new regions as a partial solution to their own 
grave economic problems. There is an increasingly strong ten- 



38 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



dency in Western countries to displace their own problems, to 
see the present international competition for the exploitation of 
new territories as some kind of solution to world economic 
stagnation. 

Western analysts rightly suppose that the future will 
bring political instability. So, as Senator Bill Bradley put it re- 
cently, "The question about Russia is whether reform is re- 
versible."'^ Military analysts draw the obvious implication: the 
greater the military power which can potentially be brought to 
bear on Russia, the less the likelihood of the "reforms" being 
reversed. This is the meaning of the following extraordinary 
statement by the Working Group on NATO Enlargement: 

The security task of NATO is no longer limited to 
maintaining a defensive military posture against an 
opposing force. There is no immediate military se- 
curity threat to Western Europe. The political insta- 
bility and insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe, 
however, greatly affect the security of the NATO 
area. NATO should help to fulfill the Central and 
Eastern European desires for security and integration 
into Western structures, thus serving the interests in 
stability of its members." 

This represents an entirely new position on the part of 
NATO. It is a position which some NATO countries thought 
imprudent not long ago. And it is alarming, because it does not 
confront the real reasons behind the present pressure for 
NATO's extension. However evasive and sophistic the reason- 
ing of the Working Group may be, it appears that the debate in 
many countries is now closed. It would, of course, be much 
better if the real issues could be debated publicly. But for the 
moment they cannot be, and the pressure for NATO enlarge- 
ment is going to continue. 



SEAN CERVASI 



39 



DANGERS OF EXTENDING NATO 

The current proposal to expand NATO eastward creates many 
dangers. 

It should be stated that many leaders in Western coun- 
tries oppose the expansion of NATO, and they have repeatedly 
explained the dangers of such expansion. It is important to rec- 
ognize that despite the official position of NATO and the recent 
report of the Working Group, there is strong opposition to 
NATO's moving eastward. Nonetheless, for the moment those 
in favor of NATO expansion have won the day. 

Four dangers of NATO expansion in particular require 
discussion here. 

The first is that the expansion of NATO will bring new 
members under the NATO umbrella. This will mean, for in- 
stance, that the United States and other Western members are 
obliged to defend, say, Slovakia against an attack. Where will 
an attack come from? Is NATO really prepared to defend Slo- 
vakia in the event of a conflict with another East European 
country? In a country like the United States, this would be very 
unpopular. As Senator Kassebaum put it in October of 1995: 

Are the American people prepared to pledge, in the 
words of the North Atlantic Treaty, that an armed 
attack against one or more of these potential new 
members will be considered an attack against all?'^ 

The issue of extending the umbrella is a critical one. For 
the NATO powers are nuclear powers. The Working Group 
report stated that, in appropriate circumstances, the forces of 
NATO allies could be stationed on the territory of new mem- 
bers. And the Working Group did not rule out, as it should 
have, the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of new 
members. The failure to rule out such a possibility means that 
NATO is embarking on a dangerous path, a path that increases 
the risks of nuclear war. 

The Working Group's silence on this matter cannot fail 
to be taken as a threat by those who are not joining NATO. And 



40 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



clearly the most important of these is Russia, because it too 
possesses nuclear weapons — as do the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. 

The second danger is that expansion will jeopardize re- 
lations between the United States and Russia, or even lead to a 
second Cold War. While NATO countries present the organiza- 
tion as a defensive alliance, Russia sees it quite differently. For 
more than forty years, the Soviet Union considered NATO as an 
offensive alliance aimed at all the members of the Warsaw Pact. 
The general opinion in Russia is still that NATO is an offensive 
alliance. The former Foreign Minister, Mr. Kozyrev, made this 
quite clear to NATO members. How can Russia possibly see 
things differently in the future? 

The expansion of NATO is inevitably perceived by Rus- 
sia as encirclement. It is seen as assuming that Russia will inevi- 
tably again become an aggressive state. This, however, is much 
more likely to push Russia toward belligerence than to do any- 
thing else. It will certainly not calm Russia's fears about 
NATO's intentions in moving into Eastern Europe. Referring to 
the recent NATO decision on expansion, the Director of the 
Institute of U.S. A and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy 
of Sciences stated recently that: 

Russia is still a military superpower with a huge area 
and a large population. It is a country with enormous 
economic capabilities which has extraordinary poten- 
tial for good or ill. But now it is a humiliated country 
in search of identity and direction. To a certain ex- 
tent, the West and its position on NATO expansion 
will determine what direction Russia chooses. The 
future of European Security depends on this deci- 
sion.^" 

The third danger in extending NATO is that it will un- 
dermine the implementation of the START I Treaty and the 
ratification of the START II Treaty, as well as other arms con- 
trol and arms limitation treaties designed to increase European 
security. The Russians, for instance, have made it clear that they 
will go ahead witFi the implementation of the Conventional 



SEAN GERVASI 



Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty "if the situation in 
Europe is stable." The expansion of NATO into Eastern 
Europe, however, significantly changes the present equilibrium 
in Europe. So NATO countries are risking many of the 
achievements of the last twenty-five years in the field of disar- 
mament. Some argue convincingly that NATO expansion will 
undermine the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

Such consequences will hardly make Europe or the 
globe safer in the future. 

The fourth principal danger in NATO expansion is that it 
will unsettle the situation in Eastern Europe. NATO claims its 
expansion will help to ensure stability. But Eastern Europe, 
particularly after the changes of the last five years, is already 
unstable. The piecemeal expansion of NATO into Eastern 
Europe will increase tensions between new members and those 
left outside. It cannot fail to do so. Those left outside NATO 
are bound to feel more insecure when NATO has established 
itself in a neighboring country. This would place them in a 
buffer zone between an expanding NATO and Russia. They are 
bound to react in a fearful and even hostile manner. The piece- 
meal expansion of NATO could even trigger an arms race in 
Eastern Europe. 

WEAKNESS OF THE WESTERN POSITION 

When closely considered, the proposal to extend NATO east- 
ward is not just dangerous. It also seems something of a des- 
perate act. It is obviously irrational, for it can become a self- 
fulfilling prophecy. It can lead to a second Cold War between 
the NATO powers and Russia, and possibly to nuclear war. It 
must be assumed that no one really wants that. 

Why, then, would the NATO countries propose such a 
course of action? Why would they be unable to weigh the dan- 
gers of their decision objectively? 

Part of the answer is that those who have made this de- 
cision have looked at it in very narrow terms, without seeing the 
larger context in which NATO expansion would take place. In 



42 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



that larger context, the proposal to expand NATO is obviously 
irrational. 

Consider the larger context. NATO proposes to admit 
certain countries in Central Europe as full members of the alli- 
ance in the near fiature. Other East European countries are being 
considered for later admission. This extension has two possible 
purposes. The first is to prevent "the failure of Russian democ- 
racy," that is, to ensure the continuation of the present regime, 
or something like it. The second is to place NATO in a favor- 
able position if a war should ever break out between Russia and 
the West. 

In an age of nuclear weapons, pursuing the second pur- 
pose is perhaps even more dangerous than it was during the 
years of the Cold War, since there are now several countries 
with nuclear weapons which could potentially be targeted 
against NATO. The argument that NATO should be expanded 
eastward in order to ensure the West an advantage in the event 
of a nuclear war is not very convincing. And it would certainly 
not be convincing to Central European countries if it were 
openly discussed. Those countries would be most likely to suf- 
fer in the first stages of such a war. Their situation would be 
similar to that of Germany during the Cold War, as the German 
anti-war movement began to understand in the 1980s. 

The main purpose of expanding NATO, as almost every- 
one has acknowledged, is to make sure that there is no reversal 
of the changes which have taken place in Russia during the last 
five years. Were such a reversal to happen, it would end the 
dream of a three-part Europe united under the capitalist banner 
and close a very large new space for the operation of Western 
capital. A NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe is 
simply a means of maintaining new pressure on those who 
would wish to change the present situation in Russia. 

However, as has been seen, this also means locking 
Russia, and other countries of the CIS, into a state of underde- 
velopment and continuous economic and social crisis in which 
millions of people will suffer terribly, and in which there is no 



SEAN CERVASI 



43 



possibility of society seeking a path of economic and social de- 
velopment in which human needs determine economic priorities. 

What is horribly ironic about this situation is that the 
Western countries are offering their model of economic organi- 
zation as the solution to Russia's problems. The realistic ana- 
lysts, of course, know perfectly well that it is no such thing. 
They are interested only in extending Western domination fur- 
ther eastward. And they offer their experience as a model for 
others only to beguile. But the idea that "the transition to de- 
mocracy," as the installation of market rules is often called, rep- 
resents progress is important in the world battle for public 
opinion. It has helped to justify and sustain the policies which 
the West has been pursuing toward the countries of the CIS. 

The Western countries themselves, however, are locked 
in an intractable economic crisis. Beginning in the early 1970s, 
profits fell, production faltered, long-term unemployment began 
to rise, and standards of living began to fall. Within this larger 
picture there were, of course, the ups and downs of the business 
cycle. But what was important was the trend. The trend of 
gross-domestic-product growth in the major Western countries 
has been downward since the major recession of 1973-1975. In 
the United States, for instance, the rate of growth fell from 
about 4 percent per year in the 1950s and the 1960s, to 2.9 per- 
cent in the 1970s, and then to about 2.4 percent in the 1980s. 
Current projections for growth are even lower. 

The situation was not very different in other Western 
countries. Growth was somewhat faster, but unemployment was 
significantly higher. The current rates of unemployment in 
Western Europe average about 1 1 percent, and there is more 
unemployment hidden in the statistics as a result of various gov- 
ernment pseudo-employment plans. 

Both Western Europe and North America have experi- 
enced a prolonged economic stagnation. And capitalist econo- 
mies cannot sustain employment and living standards without 
relatively rapid growth. In the twenty-five years after World 
War II, most Western countries experienced rapid growth, on 



44 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



the order of 4 and 5 percent per year. It was that growth which 
made it possible to maintain high levels of employment, the rise 
in wages, and the advance of living standards. And there is no 
doubt that the Western countries made great advances in the 
postwar period. Large numbers of working class people were 
able to achieve decent living standards. The middle and upper 
classes prospered; indeed, many of them reached a standard of 
living which can only be called luxurious. 

The postwar honeymoon, however, is clearly over. The 
great "capitalist revolution" touted by the Rockefellers is no 
more. "Humanized capitalism" is no more. Declining growth has 
now returned us to the age of "le capitalisme sauvage." It has 
triggered economic and social crisis in every Western country. 
It is undermining the principal achievements of the postwar pe- 
riod. In Europe, the welfare state has been under attack for fif- 
teen years by those who would shift the burden of crisis onto 
the shoulders of the less fortunate. In the United States, a rela- 
tively meager "social net" to protect the poor is now being 
shredded by the aggressive and ignorant defenders of corporate 
interests, who also want to be sure that those who can least af- 
ford it bear the brunt of the system's crisis of stagnation. 

The West, then, is itself locked in crisis. This is not a 
transient crisis or a "long cycle," as academic apologists would 
have it. It is a systemic crisis. The market system can no longer 
produce anything like prosperity. The markets which drove the 
capitalist economy in the postwar period — automobiles, con- 
sumer durables, construction, etc. — are all saturated, as sheaves 
of government statistics in every country demonstrate. The 
system has not found new markets which could create an 
equivalent wave of prosperity. Moreover, the acceleration of 
technical progress in recent years has begun to eliminate jobs 
everywhere at a staggering rate. There is no possible way of 
compensating for its effect, for creating new employment in 
sufficient quantity and at high wage levels. 

Government and industry leaders in the West are fully 
aware of the situation in one sense. They know what the statis- 



SEAN CERVASI 



45 



tics are. They know what the problems are. But they are not 
able to see that the source of the problem is the fact that, having 
achieved very high levels of production, income, and wealth, the 
present capitalist system has nowhere to go. Half-way solutions 
could be found, but Western leaders are unwilling to make the 
required political concessions. In particular, the large concen- 
trations of capital in Western countries are led by people who 
are constitutionally incapable of seeing that something funda- 
mental is wrong. That would require them to agree to the cur- 
tailing of their power. 

Therefore, the leaders of government and industry drive 
blindly on, not wishing to see, not prepared to accept policies 
that might set the present system on a path of transition to some 
more rational and more human way of organizing economic life. 
It is this blindness, grounded in confusion and fear, which has 
clouded the ability of Western leaders to think clearly about the 
risks of extending NATO into Eastern Europe. The Western 
system is experiencing a profound economic, social, and politi- 
cal crisis. And Western leaders apparently see the exploitation 
of the East as the only large-scale project available which might 
stimulate growth, especially in Western Europe. 

They are therefore prepared to risk a great deal for it. 
The question is: will the world accept the risks of East- West 
conflict and nuclear war in order to lock into one region eco- 
nomic arrangements which are already collapsing elsewhere? 

' Defense News, 25 November 1995; see also Gary Wilson, "Anti-War Ac- 
tivists Demand: No More U.S. Troops to the Balkans," Workers World 
News Service, 7 December 1995. 

^ As of 1 996, the Visegrad countries were the Czech Republic, the Slovak 
Repubhc, Hungary, and Poland. 

' See, for instance, "NATO Expansion: Flirting with Disaster," Defense 
Monitor, November/December 1995, Center for Defense Information, 
Washington, D C. 

^ Senator Richard Lugar, "NATO: Out of Area or Out of Business," re- 
marks delivered to the Open Forum of the U.S. State Department, 2 August 
1993, Washington, D.C. 

' "Changing Nature of NATO," Intelligence Digest, 16 October 1992. 



46 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



* Defense Monitor, loc. cit., p. 2. 

' "Bonn's Balkans-to-Teheran Policy," Intelligence Digest, 1 1-25 August 
1995. 

* Richard Holbrooke, "America, a European Power," Foreign Affairs, 
March/ April 1995, p. 39. 

^ The crucial point is that Eastern Europe and the countries of the former 
USSR are to adopt the institutions prevailing in Western Europe, i.e., 
capitalism and parliamentary democracy. 

Holbrooke, loc. cit., p. 43. 
' ' See National Security Decision Directive, "United States Policy Toward 
Yugoslavia," Secret Sensitive (declassified). The White House, Washing- 
ton, D.C., 14 March 1984. 

Joan Hoey, "The U.S. 'Great Game' in Bosnia," The Nation, 30 January 
1995. 

Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind, "The Third American Empire," New 
York Times, 2 January 1996. 

"The Commercial Factor Behind NATO's Extended Remit," Intelligence 
Digest, 29 May 1992. 
" Idem. 

Senator Bill Bradley, "Eurasia Letter: A Misguided Russia Pohcy," For- 
eign Policy, Winter 1995-1996, p 89. 
" Ibid., p. 93. 

Draft Special Report of the Working Group on NATO Enlargement, May 
1995. This statement did not appear in the fmal version of the report dated 
September 1995. 

Quoted in Defense Monitor, loc. cit., p. 5. 
^° Dr. Sergei Rogov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute 
of USA and Canada Studies, quoted in Defense Monitor, loc. cit., p. 4. 



3 Bosnia tragedy: 
The unknown role 
of the Pentagon 

Sara F lou nders' 

The recurring media image of Yugoslavia in the United States 
and Europe is of desperate people fleeing local war and ethnic 
hatred or living a precarious existence dependent on United Na- 
tions convoys for their next meal. 

According to the UN High Commission on Refugees, 
this is the largest refugee population in the world. By 1994, 
there were over 3.7 million war refugees in the former Yugo- 
slavia. The war has taken its toll on all participants in the strug- 
gle. Of the refugees, 44 percent are Muslim, 36 percent are 
Serbs, and 20 percent are Croatian. The enormous human suf- 
fering represented in these cold statistics cannot be calculated. 

The very names Bosnia and Serbia are now associated 
with "ethnic cleansing," mass rape, atrocities, and age-old na- 
tional hatreds. U.S. involvement, UN troops, and NATO forces 
are depicted as neutral forces or peacekeepers carrying out hu- 
manitarian or diplomatic missions. When UN officials, NATO 
generals, and U.S., British, French, or German diplomats meet. 



This chapter is adapted from the pamphlet Bosnia Tragedy: the unknown 
role of the U.S. government & Pentagon (New York World View Forum, 
1995) by Sara Flounders. 



48 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



it's to discuss the newest "peace plan." The motive for every 
new military measure is always described as deep concern over 
how to end the fighting. 

Is the civil war raging in Yugoslavia a case of spontane- 
ous combustion caused by "ancient ethnic hatreds" burning out 
of control? Is the U.S. government an innocent bystander? Is 
the real problem presidential indecision about how to defend a 
small, oppressed, Bosnian Moslem government targeted by the 
"new fascists" of the 1990s— the Serbs? 

A closer examination of the root causes of the incredibly 
destructive civil war raging in the region yields a completely 
different picture Age-old ethnic hatred among small nationali- 
ties didn't just explode into modem-day barbarism. Rather, war 
exists in the region as a resuh of the intervention of outside 
powers. In this process the U.S. has been neither an innocent 
bystander nor a neutral party. The reality is that the U.S. gov- 
ernment lit the fire in the Balkans. At every stage Washington 
has acted as an arsonist pouring gasoline on the flames. 

The greatest responsibility for the dismemberment of 
Yugoslavia and the resulting civil war lies with the U.S. gov- 
ernment. It was not an accident or an oversight. It was a policy 
decision. Each step the U.S. has taken has widened the war and 
increased divisions in the region. 

ORIGINS OF THE BREAKUP— A U.S. LAW 

A year before the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia, on Nov. 5, 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the 
1991 Foreign Operations Appropriations Law 101-513.* This 
bill was a signed death warrant. One provision in particular was 
so lethal that a CIA report predicting a bloody civil war referred 
to this law. * 

A section of Law 101-513 suddenly and without previ- 
ous warning cut off all aid, credits, and loans from the U.S. to 
Yugoslavia within six months. Conducting trade without credits 



' See Appendix for full text of the Yugoslav portion of this law. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 49 



is virtually impossible in the modem world — especially for an 
indebted country lacking hard currency. The law also demanded 
separate elections in each of the six republics that make up 
Yugoslavia, requiring State Department approval of election 
procedures and results before aid to the separate republics 
would be resumed. The legislation further required U.S. per- 
sonnel in all international financial institutions such as the World 
Bank and the International Monetary Fund to enforce this cut- 
off policy for all credits and loans. 

There was one final provision. Only forces that the U.S. 
State Department defined as "democratic" would receive fund- 
ing. This meant an influx of funds to small, right-wing, national- 
ist parties in a financially strangled region suddenly thrown into 
crisis by the overall funding cut-off. The impact was, as ex- 
pected, devastating. 

The Yugoslav federal government was unable to pay the 
enormous interest on its foreign debt or even to arrange the 
purchase of raw materials for industry. Credit collapsed and re- 
criminations broke out on all sides. 

At the time there was no civil war. No republic had se- 
ceded. The U.S. was not engaged in a public dispute with 
Yugoslavia. The region was not even in the news. World atten- 
tion was focused on the international coalition the Bush ad- 
ministration was assembling to destroy Iraq — a war that re- 
shaped the Middle East at a cost of half a million Iraqi lives. 

What was behind the sweeping legislation directed at 
Yugoslavia, especially when U.S. policy makers themselves 
predicted that the sudden unraveling of the region would lead to 
civil war? 

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, U S. big business 
was embarking on an aggressive march to reshape all of Europe. 
Nonaligned Yugoslavia was no longer needed as a buffer state 
between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. A strong, united Europe 
was hardly desirable. Washington policy makers considered 
both to be relics of the Cold War. 



50 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



CONTROL OF THE PURSE STRINGS 

This one piece of legislation — Law 101-513 — demonstrates the 
U.S. government's enormous power. It was one part of annual 
legislation that defines in detail policies to be pursued in every 
region of the globe. This law implements U.S. corporate control 
through major fijnding to international financial institutions — 
such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian De- 
velopment Bank, the African Development Bank — and through 
direct assistance to individual countries. 

The deadly restrictions on Yugoslavia took a mere 
twenty-three lines. Compare this to the more than nine pages 
that detail sanctions to be imposed on Iraq. As of December 
1994, the U.S. -UN sanctions on Iraq had killed more than half a 
million children. This projection is from Thomas Ekfal, the 
United Nations Children's Fund representative in Baghdad.^ 

The 1991 Foreign Appropriations Law also prescribed 
various forms of economic strangulation for several other 
countries deemed enemies, including Angola, Cambodia, Cuba, 
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Korea (DPRK), and Vietnam. On the 
other hand, countries moving hastily toward a capitalist market 
economy in 1990, such as Poland, were to receive special fund- 
ing. In all the expressions of concern and sympathy for refugees 
and displaced people in countries all over the globe, but espe- 
cially in the former Yugoslavia, no U.S. official ever mentions 
the terrible suffering caused by U.S. economic strangulation. 

Of course, financial strings were hardly new to Yugo- 
slavia in 1990. Yugoslavia had become utterly dependent on 
loans from Western banks. The increasingly onerous conditions 
had dislocated the economy. A year earlier, the price of contin- 
ued U.S. loans and credits was a brutal austerity program that 
devalued the currency, froze wages, cut subsidies, closed many 
state industries deemed unprofitable for capitalist investors, and 
increased unemployment to 20 percent. The result was strikes, 
walkouts, a sharp increase in political and economic tension, 
and, above all, an upsurge in national antagonisms on all sides. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 5 I 



Once the U.S. acted so decisively toward Yugoslavia in 
1990, the European powers were hardly willing to be bystanders 
to the enforced breakup of a country in their own backyard. The 
U.S. Foreign Appropriations Law sent a clear message to the 
European powers that Yugoslavia and the whole Balkan region 
were again up for grabs. On their own they might never have 
dared to act. Now they dared not be out of the action. 

EUROPEAN INTERVENTION 

By February 1991 the Council of Europe followed the U.S. 
measure with its own political demands and explicit economic 
intervention in the internal affairs of the Yugoslav Federation. 
Their demand was similar: that Yugoslavia hold multi-party 
elections or face economic blockade. 

Right-wing and fascist organizations not seen in forty- 
five years — since the defeat of the Nazi occupation by the anti- 
fascist Partisan movement — were suddenly revived and began 
receiving covert support. These fascist organizations had been 
maintained in exile in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Austria. 
Now they became the main conduit for funds and arms. By 
March 1991, Croatian fascists were organizing attacks and 
demonstrations calling for the overturn of the socialist federa- 
tion and the expulsion of all Serbs from Croatia. 

On May 5, 1991, the date of the six-month deadline im- 
posed by U.S. Foreign Operations Law 101-513, Croatian sepa- 
ratists staged violent demonstrations and besieged a military 
base in Gospic. The Yugoslav federal government, under attack, 
ordered the army to intervene. The civil war had begun. Slove- 
nia and Croatia declared independence on June 25, 1991. 

I n Croatia the right-wing party, the Croatian Democratic 
Union (HDZ), came to power using fascist symbols and slogans 
from the era of Nazi occupation and the quisling Ustasha party. ^ 
Its program guaranteed a return to capitalist property relations 
and denied citizenship, jobs, pensions, passports, and land own- 
ership to all other nationalities, but especially targeted the large 
Serbian minority. In the face of armed expropriations and mass 



52 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



expulsions, the Serbs in Croatia began to arm themselves. The 
experience of World War II — when almost a million people, 
primarily Serbs, but also Jews, Romani, and tens of thousands 
of others died in Ustashi death camps — fueled the mobilization. 

As the largest nationality and the one that opposed the 
breakup of the Yugoslav federation, the Serbs became the target 
and the excuse for Western intervention. History was turned on 
its head as the media portrayed the Serbs as fascists. In 1991, 
right-wing nationalist parties swept the elections in Slovenia and 
Croatia. However, in Serbia and in Montenegro the mass mood 
was overwhelmingly for the federation and also against further 
privatization or other capitalist inroads. This was an unexpected 
resistance to the political collapse sweeping Eastern Europe at 
the time. 

The tactic of targeting the Serbs with UN resolutions, 
imposing brutal sanctions, and freezing all credit and trade also 
served as a veiled threat against Russia. The breakup and dis- 
memberment of the Soviet Union has been encouraged by the 
same forces that encouraged the breakup of Yugoslavia. 

Reunited Germany moved aggressively into the region 
to consolidate its position. It was the first to openly grant dip- 
lomatic recognition to the break-away republics. 

The U.S. State Department's position after Croatia and 
Slovenia seceded was official support for a continued federa- 
tion. But this flew in the face of the demands and the process 
set in motion by the U.S. Foreign Operations Law passed in 
1990 before the Yugoslav civil war began. 

REWRITING HISTORY 

The rationale behind Western intervention in Yugoslavia is 
based on rewriting history. Every debate about drawing and re- 
drawing the map of Bosnia assumes the right of the Western 
powers as outside "neutral" forces to carve up and decide the 
fate of the region in the interests of "peace." The implied justifi- 
cation is that the ^mall, barbaric nations of the Balkans are so 



SARA FLOUNDERS 53 



torn by ethnic hatred that they are incapable of deciding any- 
thing themselves. 

There is a bloody history in the Balkans — but it's not the 
one that's being connected to the present-day struggle. It's 
much more fundamental. It's the history of the major imperialist 
powers battling for control and domination of this strategic 
crossroads of Europe and the Middle East. 

The history of modem Europe sometimes seems to re- 
volve around carving and recarving the Balkans. It is a history 
of continually redrawing borders and defining regions of influ- 
ence, of arming mercenary bands and holding international 
conferences in Paris, in Berlin, in London, and at the Hague to 
confer about which power would be in control of what region. 
All this was always without any consultation with the many 
small nationalities whose fate hung in the balance. 

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Turkey, Czar- 
ist Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy have all consid- 
ered the Balkans their rightful "sphere of influence." World War 
I began in Sarajevo. Although the competition and rivalry for 
markets extended globally — far beyond the Balkans — this small 
region has always been a tinderbox for the big powers. 

In World War II the resistance movement to Nazi Ger- 
man occupation led by Marshal Tito and the League of Yugo- 
slav Communists united the small nations of the Balkans into an 
explosive political force. From scattered bands of guerrillas it 
grew into the largest partisan movement in Europe, more than a 
million strong. Forty-three German divisions could not destroy 
the movement. This experience shaped Yugoslavia's history and 
laid the basis for the socialist federation. It remains a powerful 
heritage. 

Today, the capitalist media speak endlessly of "ancient 
ethnic hatreds" but never of this revolutionary partisan move- 
ment and the long tradition of struggles to unite the South Slav 
peoples against outside domination. 

For forty-five years the Yugoslav federation — six re- 
publics and two autonomous regions — was able to hold the 



54 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Western powers at bay. It was able to develop industry in an 
impoverished, underdeveloped area and raise the standard of 
living. The fact that the IMF and U.S. banks were able again to 
strangle and dismember it does not negate its historical accom- 
plishment. 

CASTING THE SERBS AS FASCISTS 

How did the Serbs come to be viewed as fascists in this con- 
flict? This characterization has now become an accepted fact, an 
issue beyond debate. It makes U.S. motives seem unimpeach- 
able and on the side of good against evil. 

In April 1993 Jacques Merlino, associate director of 
French TV 2, interviewed James Harff, director of Ruder Finn 
Global Public Affairs, a Washington, D.C.-based public rela- 
tions firm. The interview shows the role of the corporate media 
in shaping a political issue. 

Harff bragged of his services to his clients — the Repub- 
lic of Croatia, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the 
parliamentary opposition in Kosovo, an autonomous region of 
Serbia. Merlino described how Harff uses a file of several hun- 
dred journalists, politicians, representatives of humanitarian as- 
sociations, and academics to create public opinion. Harff ex- 
plained: "Speed is vital it is the first assertion that really 
counts. All denials are entirely ineffective." 

In the interview, Merlino asked Harff what his proudest 
public relations endeavor was. Harff responded: 

"To have managed to put Jewish opinion on our side. 
This was a sensitive matter, as the dossier was dangerous 
looked at from this angle. President Tudjman was very careless 
in his book. Wastelands of Historical Reality. Reading his 
writings one could accuse him of anti-Semitism. [Tudjman 
claimed the Holocaust never happened — S.F.] In Bosnia the 
situation was no better: President Izetbegovic strongly sup- 
ported the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in his book. 
The Islamic Declaration. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 55 



"Besides, the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by 
real and cruel anti-Semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews per- 
ished in Croatian camps, so there was every reason for intellec- 
tuals and Jewish organizations to be hostile toward the Croats 
and the Bosnians. Our challenge was to reverse this attitude and 
we succeeded masterfully. 

"At the beginning of July 1992, New York Newsday 
came out with the article on Serb camps. We jumped at the op- 
portunity immediately. We outwitted three big Jewish organiza- 
tions — the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, The American 
Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress. In Aug- 
ust, we suggested that they publish an advertisement in the New 
York Times and organize demonstrations outside the United 
Nations. 

"That was a tremendous coup. When the Jewish organi- 
zations entered the game on the side of the [Muslim] Bosnians, 
we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public 
mind. Nobody understood what was happening in Yugoslavia. 
The great majority of Americans were probably asking them- 
selves in which African country Bosnia was situated. 

"By a single move we were able to present a simple 
story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play 
itself We won by targeting the Jewish audience. Almost imme- 
diately there was a clear change of language in the press, with 
use of words with high emotional content such as ethnic 
cleansing, concentration camps, etc., which evoke images of 
Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. No one 
could go against it without being accused of revisionism. We 
really batted a thousand in full." 

Merlino replied, "But between 2 and 5 August 1992, 
when you did this, you had no proof that what you said was 
true. All you had were two Newsday articles." 

"Our work is not to verify information," said Harff. 
"We are not equipped for that. Our work is to accelerate the 
circulation of information favorable to us, to aim at judiciously 
chosen targets. We did not confirm the existence of death 



56 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



camps in Bosnia, we just made it widely known that Newsday 
affirmed it. We are professionals. We had a job to do and 
we did it. We are not paid to moralize.""* 

THE RAPE CHARGE 

One charge against the Serbs has aroused the anger and shaped 
the view of millions of people who previously had little interest 
or involvement in the Balkans. The charge is rape — rape as a 
systematic weapon of war, a planned deliberate strategy. The 
media asserts that rapes were a conscious policy and the re- 
sponsibility of the Bosnian Serb leadership. 

Between the fall of 1992 and spring of 1993 sensational 
news reports claimed that at least twenty thousand and up to 
one hundred thousand Muslim women had been raped by units 
of the Bosnian Serb Army. This crystallized the view that the 
Serbs were the aggressors and the Muslims the victims. 

Women are the first victims in every war. Rape and the 
degrading abuse of women are all too often carried out as a 
stamp of conquest by invading armies imbued with patriarchal 
possessive attitudes. But the charge of rape has many times 
been consciously used as an essential prop of war propaganda. 
The purported defense of women is used to mobilize armies and 
galvanize blind hatred. 

The sensational charges of rape were used to a cynical 
extent by the major corporate media, especially in the U.S., with 
no attempt to examine the sources. The foreign minister of 
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haris Silajdzic, first raised the charge at 
peace talks in Geneva that thirty thousand women and girls had 
been raped. Ms. magazine ran a cover story that accused 
Bosnian Serb forces of raping for the purpose of producing 
pornographic films. No such films were ever found and the 
charges were not supported by the findings of Helsinki Watch 
or Human Rights Watch. 

In January 1993 the Warburton Report, authorized by 
the European Cojnmunity, estimated twenty thousand Muslim 
women had been raped as part of a Serb strategy of conquest. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 57 



This report was widely cited as an independent, authoritative 
source. No coverage was given to a dissenting member of the 
investigative team, Simone Veil, a former French minister and 
president of the European Parliament. She revealed that the es- 
timate of twenty thousand victims was based on actual inter- 
views with only four victims — two women and two men. 

The Croatian Ministry of Health in Zagreb was the main 
source upon which the Warburton Report based its figure of 
twenty thousand.' 

Newsweek magazine reported that up to fifty thousand 
Muslim women had been raped in Bosnia.* Tom Post, a con- 
tributor to the article, explained that the estimate of fifty thou- 
sand rapes was based on interviews with twenty-eight women. 
This estimate was the result of an extrapolation — multiplying 
each charge of rape by a certain factor because historically rape 
has been and continues to be an under-reported crime. 

French television reporter Jerome Bony explained the 
problem. "When I was fifty kilometers from Tuzla, I was told: 
'Go to the Tuzla high school grounds. There are four thousand 
raped women.' At twenty kilometers this figure dropped to four 
hundred. At ten kilometers only forty were left. Once at the site, 
I found only four women willing to testify." 

The New York Times carried a photo story with the cap- 
tion: "A two-month-old baby girl bom to a teen-age Muslim 
woman after she was raped in a Serbian detention camp."^ USA 
Today told the story of a five-month-old baby, presumably the 
product of systematic Serbian rape.' At that time, the war was 
not yet nine months old. 

Women's organizations understandably outraged by 
these lurid reports demanded that the U.S. and the European 
powers take action. However, many of these same women 
ought to be aware that U.S. troops do not protect women. In 
every U.S. military operation an entire sex industry is created 
and tens of thousands of women are forced into sexual slavery 
and prostitution. Consider the experience of Vietnam, Thailand, 
Korea, and the Philippines. Even U.S. women in the military 



58 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



experience rape and sexual abuse, then cover-ups and denial, as 
the Tailhook scandal and subsequent exposes so graphically 
demonstrated. 

CONTROL THROUGH DIVISION IN BOSNIA 

The divisive U.S. role in Bosnia, the most multi-ethnic of the 
regions, raises other questions. Does the U.S. seek, through the 
breakup of Yugoslavia, not only to position itself in the region 
but to advance a more complex, hidden agenda? Certainly U.S. 
conduct has involved many maneuvers that have prolonged the 
war and increased the rivalry among Britain, France, and Ger- 
many. Turkey, Greece, and Italy have also historically been in- 
volved in the region and are again maneuvering. 

On March 18, 1992, a negotiated agreement for a uni- 
fied state brokered by the European Community was reached in 
Lisbon among the Bosnian Muslim, Croatian, and Serb forces. 
This agreement of all three parties would have prevented the 
disastrous civil war that began that same year. It would have 
saved the hundreds of thousands of refugees whose lives have 
been destroyed by war. Washington sabotaged this original 
agreement by telling the Bosnian regime of Alija Izetbegovic 
that it could get much more — possibly domination of the whole 
region — with U.S. backing. The U.S. role in destroying this 
carefully crafted agreement is acknowledged by all sides. Even 
the New York Times described Washington's role.' The U.S. 
government officially encouraged Izetbegovic, the head of the 
right-wing Party for Democratic Action, to unilaterally declare a 
sovereign state under his presidency. 

Muslim groups in two separate areas of Bosnia have 
challenged the government led by Alija Izetbegovic. They dis- 
pute Izetbegovic 's claim that he represents the interests of the 
Muslim community. They want a policy of cooperation and 
trade with the other nationalities of the region. Both groups 
have condemned Izetbegovic for right-wing nationalist policies 
and reliance on U. S- military aid. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 59 



The elected Bosnian Muslim government in the city of 
Tuzla, one of the wealthiest industrial centers in Yugoslavia 
before it was dismembered, claims that the U.S. -supervised re- 
write of the Bosnian constitution gave power only to the most 
extreme right-wing nationalist forces of Izetbegovic's Party for 
Democratic Action and neo-fascist Franjo Tudjman's Croatian 
Democratic Union. Other political forces were excluded, even 
among Muslims. 

A Bosnian Muslim group in the northwest Bihac area 
led by Fikret Abdic declared its autonomy from the U.S. -backed 
government based in Sarajevo. In retaliation, the Izetbegovic 
government launched a military attack against these Muslim 
forces that wanted peace with their Serbian and Croatian neigh- 
bors. This attack on an elected Moslem Bosnian government 
was organized by the U.S. As reported in November 1994 in 
Britain in such newspapers as the Guardian, the Observer and 
the Independent, as well as in newspapers in France and Ger- 
many, six U.S. generals took part in planning the offensive in 
June of that year. The attack violated the cease-fire and a UN- 
declared safe area. 

The Izetbegovic government's U.S. -backed offensive 
was at first successful in the Bihac region. But the Bosnian 
Serbs, in alliance with Serbs in Croatia and Bosnian Moslem 
forces led by Fikret Abdic, reorganized and began a strong push 
back. U.S. bombers under NATO command then came to Izet- 
begovic's defense. 

In the U.S. media, neither the U.S. role in planning the 
offensive nor the fact that the U.S. -backed forces were the ones 
to violate the cease-fire was examined. The Bosnian Muslim 
forces opposing the Izetbegovic government based in Sarajevo 
have received only scant mention as "renegade forces." 

Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles G. Boyd, deputy 
commander in chief of the U.S. European Command from 1992 
to 1995, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that Abdic's gov- 
ernment in Bihac was "one of the few examples of successful 
multi-ethnic cooperation in the Balkans." Further, Boyd wrote. 



60 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



"Abdic, a powerful local businessman, was a member of the 
Bosnian collective presidency. He outpolled Izetbegovic in na- 
tional elections and had been expelled from the government 
when Sarajevo [Izetbegovic's headquarters] rejected an interna- 
tionally brokered peace agreement."'" 

U.S. backing of Izetbegovic's attack on other Bosnian 
Muslim forces exposes just how cynically the Pentagon is using 
right-wing Muslim forces in order to prolong and widen the 
war. Those who call on the Pentagon to come to the defense of 
Muslim people should recall the U.S. role in the Middle East. 
The U.S. government has demonized Muslim people and made 
war on the people of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran — as 
well as on Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Muslim people in 
Bosnia will be the greatest losers in this war-torn region as a 
result of the alliance of the narrow, right-wing Izetbegovic 
grouping and the Pentagon. 

CIA ROLE IN BOSNIA 

The European press has been much more candid on what the 
U.S. was doing in Bosnia than the media in this country. Here 
are some headlines from British newspapers: 

"CIA agents training Bosnian army" — The Guardian, 
November 17, 1994 

"America's secret Bosnia agenda" — The Observer, No- 
vember 20, 1994 

"How the CIA helps Bosnia fight back" — The Euro- 
pean, November 25, 1994 

"Allies facing split over Bosnia" — Ihe Independent, 
November 12, 1994 

"Europe braces for more rows with U.S." — 7he 
Guardian, November 12, 1994 

These few headlines expose both the CIA role in Bosnia 
and the depth of the growing dispute in NATO. The media in 
France, Germany, and Italy have carried similar exposes of 
large-scale CIA ipvolvement in the widening war in Bosnia. 
Coverage has included information on tactical operations, shar- 



SARA FLOUNDERS 6 I 



ing satellite information, and controlling local air traffic. Units 
of both the Croatian and Bosnian armies have reportedly been 
trained within the region and in the United States. U.S. -based 
forces have provided assistance in building airstrips and organiz- 
ing large weapons shipments through Croatia to the Bosnian 
forces. 

The debate in the European press — complete with Pen- 
tagon denials and "clarification" — has received scant coverage 
in the U.S. media. This avoidance of an issue receiving wide 
coverage in Britain and France raises further questions of why 
the major U.S. media are aiding and abetting this operation and 
why the European media are exposing this information. 

The exposes follow months of increasingly sharp criti- 
cisms and veiled charges by UN officials that the U.S. has 
sabotaged each agreement, peace plan, and even the cease-fires. 

It is clear that the civil war in Yugoslavia has broken the 
growing unity of the European powers. They are at each other's 
throats over how to proceed. The struggle between the use of 
UN peacekeepers versus NATO bombing reflects these divi- 
sions. 

UN LEAKS INFORMATION ON U.S. ROLE 

Occasionally the debate makes it into the pages of U.S. news- 
papers. In April 1 994 the Washington Post cited two senior UN 
officials — a general and a civilian — who blame the U.S "for the 
continuation of the war in Bosnia because it has given the Mus- 
lim-led Bosnian government the false impression that Washing- 
ton's military support was on the way."" 

The article explained that the officials interviewed were 
two of the highest-ranking UN representatives in Bosnia. Yet 
they feared using their names lest they be expelled from Bosnia. 
However, both claimed that U.S. moral and financial support of 
the Izetbegovic regime was prolonging the war. 

The officials accused the U.S. of leading on Izetbego- 
vic' s forces by promising full-scale NATO intervention on his 
side. U.S. Gen. John Shalikashvili, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs 



62 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



of Staff, had gone to Sarajevo to meet with Bosnian military 
leaders. It was a powerful incentive to keep fighting. And it was 
reinforced when, in an impassioned speech at the opening of the 
new U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, U.S. Ambassador to the UN 
Madeleine Albright said, "Your future and America's future are 
inseparable." 

The New York Times described the new supplies, includ- 
ing heavy weapons, flooding into Bosnia since the U.S. organ- 
ized the Croatian-Bosnian alliance. 

Each "peace proposal" or map defining the areas of 
Moslem or Serb control divides the area into dependent, unsus- 
tainable enclaves needing constant resupply, which would re- 
quire a military presence for many years. Industrial centers and 
the major roads in this mountainous region are partitioned so 
the Bosnian government based in Sarajevo controls them. The 
Bosnian Serbs have been allocated the poorest rural and moun- 
tainous regions with no connecting roads or corridors between 
them. The Bosnian Serbs cannot survive under these plans. 
Their situation is untenable. They are driven to resist. 

USE OF WAR PROPAGANDA 

The siege of Gorazde in the spring of 1994 is one of the clearest 
examples of the U.S. propaganda barrage to justify and demand 
measures that would widen the war and give the U.S. military a 
blank check. Nightly news broadcasts about Gorazde focused 
on the Serbian bombing of a hospital and claimed casualties in 
the thousands. Then, after days of gory stories in the media and 
heavy U.S. pressure, U.S. planes flying under NATO auspices 
bombed Serb positions. A heated UN Security Council debate 
and vote, however, blocked the full-scale NATO air strikes that 
the U. S. was demanding. 

After the siege was lifted, the commander of UN troops 
in Bosnia, British Army Lt. Gen. Michael Rose, told visiting 
U.S. Rep. John P Murtha, chair of the House Appropriations 
Committee subcqpimittee on defense, that reports of damage 
and casualties were greatly exaggerated. The Bosnian casualties 



SARA FLOUNDERS 63 



around Gorazde "were closer to two hundred than two thou- 
sand." The media had wildly exaggerated casuahies in order to 
promote a war climate and justify NATO intervention. 

The UN officials found that the hospital in Gorazde, 
which had been repeatedly described as all but destroyed by the 
Serbs, basically needed a broom to clear up the rubbish. It was 
still functioning. The hospital had been damaged because the 
Izetbegovic government forces had established their military 
headquarters next door. 

After the siege ended, the New York Times referred to a 
giant munitions factory in Gorazde under Bosnian Muslim con- 
trol.'^ The Pobjeda Munitions Factory included "a honeycomb 
of underground tunnels and storage bunkers." It held "enough 
explosives in the factory to flatten a city." Throughout the siege 
the public had been bombarded with countless stories on the 
plight of unarmed Bosnian Muslim forces versus a well-armed 
Bosnian Serb army. 

World sympathy for the government of Izetbegovic has 
been built mainly through horror stories of brutal Serbian at- 
tacks on unarmed civilians in Sarajevo. One of the most grue- 
some was an attack on an open-air market on February 5, 1 994, 
that left sixty-eight people dead. As the rift between the U.S. 
forces and the British and French forces under the UN flag 
grows more heated, these widely publicized "Serb atrocities" 
are being disputed. A UN analysis of the crater showed that the 
Izetbegovic regime's forces were responsible for the explosion 
at the market.''* Later, the UN publicly released a crater analysis 
of another shell that exploded, wounding a child, as proof that 
Izetbegovic's Bosnian army had fired on its own civilians to 
gain sympathy.'^ 

Just a few weeks earlier, U.S. war propaganda had 
reached new depths with gory descriptions of carnage, mass 
rapes, disembowelments, even massacres of children when the 
Bosnian government pulled out of Srebrenica. However, a UN 
investigative team reported on July 24, 1995, that they could 
not find a single eyewitness to any atrocity. 



64 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Hubert Wieland, personal representative of the UN High 
Commission for Human Rights, traveled with a team of investi- 
gators to Srebrenica and to Tuzla, the Bosnian city to which 
almost all the refugees were taken. Although his team spoke 
with scores of Muslims at the main refugee camp and at other 
collection centers, no eyewitness could be found. 

U.S. SUPPORTS CROAT INVASION OF KRAJINA 

In contrast to the storm of outrage in the media when the Serbs 
moved into the town of Srebrenica, there was no such coverage 
two weeks later when, in a blitzkrieg attack on August 3, 1995, 
Croatian forces with U.S. backing launched the biggest and 
bloodiest offensive in four years of civil war. 

Within a week, two hundred thousand new refugees 
were fleeing the Croatian army. However, there was no cover- 
age of these old people being driven from their homes or the 
chaos of thousands fleeing the bombing of their villages. There 
was no sympathy and there was no talk of sanctions on Croatia. 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher declared that the crush- 
ing military offensive was "to our advantage." 

Pentagon support amounted to far more than just a nod 
of approval. According to the London Independent, "The re- 
arming and training of Croatian forces in preparation for the 
present offensive are part of a classic CIA operation: probably 
the most ambitious operation of its kind since the end of the 
Vietnam war."'* 

The London Times reported that "the rearming of Croa- 
tia remains one of the biggest untold stories of the Yugoslav 
war. American officials strenuously deny any involvement in this 
operation but the region is teeming with former generals who 
unconventionally chose the Balkans, rather than Florida, for 
their well-earned retirement."'' 



SARA FLOUNDERS 65 



•SAFE AREAS' LAUNCHING PADS FOR U.S. 
WAR 

On a daily basis news coverage in the U.S. refers to Serb viola- 
tions of UN-declared "safe areas," six towns held by the 
Bosnian government and surrounded by Serb-held territory. 
This term reinforces the popular misconception that the "safe 
areas" are neutral, demilitarized, civilian havens removed from 
the civil war. U. S. military support has made this term a cynical 
fraud. The excuse for every NATO bombing of the Bosnian 
Serb forces has been an alleged Serb attack on a "safe area." 
But it is U.S. military intervention that has made these "safe ar- 
eas" unsafe. The "safe areas" are really staging areas for U.S.- 
backed Bosnian army offensives against the Bosnian Serb 
forces. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali confirmed 
this in a report to the UN Security Council on May 30, 1995: 

In recent months [the U.S. -backed Bosnian] govern- 
ment forces have considerably increased their military 
activity in and around most safe areas, and many of 
them, including Sarajevo, Tuzla and Bihac, have been 
incorporated into the broader military campaign of 
the [Bosnian] government's side. 

The headquarters and the logistics installations of the 
Fifth Corps of the [Bosnian] government army are lo- 
cated in the town of Bihac and those of the Second 
Corps in the town of Tuzla. 

The government also maintains a substantial number 
of troops in Srebrenica (in this case a violation of a 
demilitarization agreement), Gorazde and Zepa, while 
Sarajevo is the location of the General Command of 
the government army and other military installations. 
There is also an ammunition factory in Gorazde. 

The Bosnian Serb forces' reaction to offensives 
launched by the [U.S. -backed Bosnian] government 
army from safe areas have generally been to respond 
against military targets within those areas. 



66 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



PRETEXT FOR NATO BOMBS 

Still another explosion on August 28, 1 995, at a small enclosed 
marketplace in Sarajevo killed thirty-seven people. It became 
the U.S. pretext for the most massive military action in Europe 
since World War II. More than four thousand U.S. -NATO 
military air sorties were carried out. 

New York Times Washington correspondent David 
Binder reported in the Nation magazine that the explosion came 
the day after Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke 
promised more active NATO air strikes. Only an excuse was 
needed. Binder quotes four different military sources disputing 
the immediate UN report that blamed the Bosnian Serbs for the 
explosion." 

Russian artillery officer Col. Andrei Demurenko went on 
television in Sarajevo to denounce the UN report on the explo- 
sion as a falsification. He announced that the probability of hit- 
ting a street less than thirty feet wide from Serb artillery posi- 
tions one to two miles away was "one in one million." 

A Canadian specialist with extensive service in Bosnia 
told Binder that the fuse of the mortar shell recovered firom the 
marketplace crater "had not come from a mortar tube at all." 
Two unidentified U.S. administration officials in Sarajevo ex- 
plained to Binder that based on the trajectory, the shallowness 
of the crater, and the absence of any high-pitched distinct whis- 
tle, the shell was either fired from very close range or dropped 
from a nearby roof into the crowd. Ahhough Binder is a regular 
correspondent for the New York Times, he had to go to the Na- 
tion with this story. 

The U.S. media's outrage over the marketplace explo- 
sion in Sarajevo stands in sharp contrast to the great approval 
for the U.S. launch of thirteen Tomahawk cruise missiles target- 
ing the city of Banja Luka. Banja Luka is behind the Bosnian 
Serb lines. It is the second-largest city in Bosnia — and the city 
with the most refiigees of all of the former Yugoslavia. In the 
U.S. -NATO attack many civilians were killed and one hospital 
was bombed. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 67 



•END ARMS EMBARGO' MEANS WIDEN WAR 

The demand to "end the arms embargo" is raised as a simple 
slogan of the Bosnian government's right to defend itself Like 
the term "safe areas," the reality is far different. "End the arms 
embargo" means to legitimize thousands of U.S. troops techni- 
cally training the Bosnian army in advanced military equipment, 
securing airports and roads for landing, and moving heavy 
equipment. It further involves U.S. surveillance flights and 
ground cover in a mountainous region where a dependent, iso- 
lated minority government currently controls small enclaves. 
This would greatly expand Pentagon involvement beyond the 
CIA training and supply level of today and the NATO air cover 
of more than forty thousand sorties over the past three years. 

There's a struggle within the summits of U.S. power 
between those who want to rely on U.S. /NATO bombing mis- 
sions to destroy the Bosnian Serb forces and those who feel the 
only way to decisively control and reshape the region is through 
U.S. ground troops and an end to the arms embargo. Both sides 
of the debate seek to expand and widen the war. Both sides of 
the debate assert the right of U.S. finance capital to impose its 
solution. 

WAR IS CALLED PEACE 

The newly formed Action Council for Peace in the Balkans best 
reflects the cynical double-speak where peace means war. It is 
composed of the bipartisan forces of U.S. militarism that are 
framing the debate. Members of the Executive Council include 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor under Carter; 
Frank Carlucci, a national security advisor and secretary of de- 
fense under Reagan; Hodding Carter, a state department 
spokesperson under Carter; Max Kampelman, who headed 
Reagan's nuclear arms team; and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan's 
United Nations ambassador. 

On July 12, 1995, this Council for Peace in the Balkans 
issued a call for "an end to the arms embargo against Bosnia, 



68 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



the withdrawal of the UN forces from Bosnia, and an effective 
NATO air campaign." This "peaceful" group asserts that the 
"air campaign" should be "strategic and sustained," not 
"pinprick strikes " The statement concludes, "A failure to act 
will be disastrous for the people of Bosnia, for the U.S., and for 
our vital interests in Europe." 

INTER-IMPERIALIST RIVALRY 

CIA and Pentagon involvement in the civil war in the Balkans 
has positioned the U.S. militarily in a strategic region. At the 
same time it has frayed the developing unity among its Euro- 
pean imperialist rivals. These U.S. rivals bear the increasing 
burden of hundreds of thousands of destitute refugees, thou- 
sands of ground troops in position, and the bitter acrimony of 
competing interests. What appears to be a bureaucratic dispute 
between NATO and UN officials is in reality a struggle between 
the imperialist ruling class of the U.S. and its European rivals, 
who fear being drawn into a protracted war. Each defends its 
right to carve up this strategic region in accordance with its own 
interests. But the Europeans have troops on the ground. If their 
forces take casuahies while the U. S. calls the shots, opposition 
at home will rise. 

There seems to be a great deal of information on close 
German-U S. collaboration at the expense of British and French 
interests. But even this cooperation may change. The fact that 
the U.S. arms and trains the Croatian troops may be a sign that 
Washington is asserting itself in Croatia also. 

The debate on U.S. -controlled NATO forces helping to 
evacuate UN "peacekeepers" reflects an expanding effort to 
make the U.S. the only power deciding the fate of the Balkans. 
The determination of both France and Britain to be bigger pow- 
ers in Europe now that the Cold War is over is reflected in their 
large commitment of troops under the UN flag throughout 
Bosnia. But the Pentagon has been able to frustrate the mission 
of the British an4, French troops by encouraging the Bosnian 
government, which is totally dependent on the U.S., to sabotage 



SARA FLOUNDERS 69 



any agreements. 

Washington's November 1994 decision to unilaterally 
end support for the UN Security Council arms embargo was the 
most open statement to date that it would pursue its own 
agenda in Bosnia at the expense of the Europeans. This decision 
was also at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of up- 
rooted and displaced people caught in the crossfire. 

SANCTIONS: ECONOMIC DOMINATION OF 
THE REGION 

The UN Security Council voted to impose a sanctions blockade 
on the remains of the Yugoslav federation (Serbia and Monte- 
negro) on May 30, 1992. The UN Security Council vote was 
rushed through to pre-empt a UN report published two days 
later saying that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was in full 
compliance with the UN demands that all Yugoslav Federal 
Army troops be withdrawn from Bosnia. 

These sanctions strangling all economic life were im- 
posed only on the Serbs, in spite of the fact that the World 
Court in The Hague ruled that the Federal Republic of Yugo- 
slavia was not the aggressor in the conflict in Bosnia. UN sanc- 
tions have not been imposed on Washington's client states in 
the region, the Croatian and Bosnian governments. The UN Se- 
curity Council did not even discuss imposing sanctions on the 
Croatian government in response to its August 1995 massive 
attack on the Krajina section of Croatia and its expulsion or 
"ethnic cleansing" of over two hundred thousand Serbs there. 

Although the stated aim of sanctions is to end arms 
shipments from Serbia to the Serbs in Bosnia, U.S. and Western 
powers used the opportunity of enforcing the sanctions to gain 
control of all the roads, waterways, and communications in this 
strategic part of Europe. All approaches to seaports and airports 
are sealed off The Pentagon now controls all navigation on the 
mighty Danube River — major thoroughfare of the Balkans and 
Eastern Europe. All shipping is restricted. The Danube is more 
important for Europe than the Mississippi River is for com- 



70 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



merce in the U.S. All countries of the Danube Basin — not only 
Serbia but Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia — thus 
have effectively been put under the blockade. 

The Western capitalist powers are the only ones that 
stand to benefit from the resulting economic dislocation in a 
number of formerly socialist countries that are now forcibly go- 
ing through privatization of their major industries and resources. 
Entire industrial complexes, no longer able to be competitive in 
the world market or even to receive raw material for production 
or ship their goods, can be bought for a song by multinational 
corporations. 

Although medical and humanitarian goods are suppos- 
edly exempted, the sanctions disrupt the entire supply system — 
its markets, foreign trade, communications, and transport. 
Funds, bank accounts, and credit are frozen. Yugoslavia is a 
country with limited resources that is forced to cope with a 
flood of at last four hundred thousand refugees displaced from 
Croatia and Bosnia. More than 40 percent of the refugees are 
under eighteen years old. Basic medicines, food, fuel for cook- 
ing, heating, and running industries, and sanitation are at crisis 
levels. 

All the imperialist powers, but particularly the U.S., rec- 
ognize that Yugoslavia sets precedents for intervention in the 
former republics of the Soviet Union. In early December 1994, 
the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in 
Europe met. Its first military action was to authorize a 
"peacekeeping mission" to Nagorno-Karabakh, the enclave dis- 
puted by Armenia and Azerbaijan. The stated purpose of the 
forces going into Nagorno-Karabakh is to prevent a Bosnia-like 
situation. Their track record is not encouraging. 

What is at stake is ownership and control of the indus- 
tries and natural resources to be privatized. In a war-torn re- 
gion, all this can be bought at bargain prices. Who will control 
the markets, the rich resources, the rebuilding, and the new in- 
vestments? Military control of the situation will be decisive. 
Diplomacy is only a cover for the military struggle. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 7 I 



THE PENTAGON PLAN 

The U.S. is determined to be the dominant power in the Bal- 
kans. This thinking is best reflected in an extraordinary forty- 
six -page Pentagon document excerpted by the New York Times. 
The document, leaked by Pentagon officials, asserts the need for 
complete U.S. world domination in both political and military 
terms and threatens other countries that even aspire to a greater 
role. The public threats seem to be aimed at the European pow- 
ers and Japan. Why else would the document be released with 
no disavowal by the Pentagon? This Pentagon policy document 
states: 

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a 
new rival. First, the U.S. must show the leader- 
ship necessary to establish and protect a new order 
that holds the promise of convincing potential com- 
petitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or 
pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their le- 
gitimate interests. 

We must account sufficiently for the interests of the 
advanced industrial nations to discourage them from 
seeking to overturn the established political and eco- 
nomic order. Finally, we must maintain the mecha- 
nism for deterring potential competitors from even 
aspiring to a larger regional or global role. 

The document goes on to specifically address Europe: 

It is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as 
the primary instrument of Western defense and se- 
curity. We must seek to prevent the emergence of 
European-only security arrangements which would 
undermine NATO.^° 

No senior U.S. official has ever denounced or renounced 
this document. When then-President George Bush was asked 
directly about it, he said that while he hadn't read the report, 
"We are the leaders and we must continue to lead." 



72 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



OPERATION BALKAN STORM 

Just how little U.S. involvement has to do with "aiding poor 
Bosnia" is best seen in an opinion piece in the New York Times 
by retired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael J. Dugan enti- 
tled "Operation Balkan Storm: Here's a Plan."''' 

Dugan is best remembered for an unusually candid in- 
terview before the Gulf War where he laid out very precise 
plans for the destruction of Iraq. He was relieved of his com- 
mand for being too frank in describing the Pentagon's war plans 
at a time when the U.S. was claiming to the UN that it wanted 
to impose sanctions on Iraq to pursue a diplomatic solution. 
However, four months later the war unfolded almost exactly as 
Dugan had described. 

"A win in the Balkans would establish U.S. leadership in 
the post-Cold War world in a way that Operation Desert Storm 
never could," Dugan crowed. He laid out a scenario of coalition 
building, if possible, with Britain, France, and Italy on an ad-hoc 
basis, since the UN Security Council is deadlocked on the use of 
force by NATO He described arming the pro-U.S. Bosnian 
forces such as those around Izetbegovic and use of "uncon- 
ventional" operations in Bosnia to suspend UN humanitarian 
operations. Then, he said, massive air power should be used 
against Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia. This Air Force general likes 
to brag about U.S. death technology. Dugan suggested using 
aircraft carriers, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, and F-llls, Tomahawk 
missiles, and the JSTARS surveillance system to destroy Ser- 
bia's electricity grid, refineries, storage facilities, and communi- 
cations. "But the U.S. costs in blood and treasure would be 
modest compared with that of Bosnian trauma." 

Whether it was the original U. S. legislation of Novem- 
ber 1990, or the recognition of an independent Bosnia under a 
right-wing U.S. -backed government rather than the compromise 
government acceptable to all sides in March 1992, or the U.S.- 
brokered Croatian-Muslim federation of March 1994 — U.S. in- 
tervention at each stage in the growing conflict in the Balkans 
has fanned the flames of war. Whether it is the early 1993 



SARA FLOUNDERS 73 



Vance-Owen plan to cantonize Bosnia into tiny enclaves or the 
Vance-Stoltenberg Plan of late 1993 for a three-way partition of 
Bosnia — each proposal is an assertion of U.S. determination to 
dominate the region and keep its imperialist rivals off guard. 

Despite the many grim warnings of difficult terrain and 
low cloud cover, the Clinton administration has offered to send 
twenty-five thousand troops as a "peacekeeping" force if a U.S. 
plan presented in late August 1995 is imposed on the people of 
the region. Massive use of air power began in September 1995. 
Once committed, more and more troops are required in a war 
that can quickly escalate. There is a heated debate today in rul- 
ing military, corporate, and government circles. But it is not 
about how to negotiate peace. It is about how to insure U.S. 
domination of a strategic region. 

THE ONLY SOLUTION— U.S. OUT 

The analogy to U.S. CIA advisors in Vietnam followed by 
twenty-five thousand troops to prop up the U.S. puppet Ngo 
Dinh Diem comes to mind all too quickly. The war that is un- 
folding will not be fought in a Hollywood fantasy in front of 
computer screens, as the rank-and-file soldiers of other U.S. 
wars know so well. The trauma for millions of refugees from 
Southeast Asia continues to this day. It will cost much more in 
"blood and treasure" than General Dugan so callously estimates. 
A further expose of U.S. war plans and involvement in the Bal- 
kans is desperately needed in order to open a debate and build a 
powerful opposition to the latest episode in the Pentagon's 
plans for world domination. 

Concerned people of every political persuasion, when 
confronted with the gruesome images of the war, ask, "Doesn't 
the U.S. government have a responsibility to do something to 
stop the bloodshed?" Or the question is posed, "How can the 
U.S. bring peace?" 

The U.S. economy today is completely dependent on 
and intertwined with militarism. U. S. military spending is larger 
than the military budgets of all the other countries of the world 



74 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



combined. Most U.S. corporations are dependent in one way or 
another on the profits of war and militarism. More than $250 
billion a year is spent on militarism. This is the only area of the 
federal budget not facing drastic cuts. 

The implications of greater and greater military in- 
volvement are not discussed with working and poor people here 
in the U.S. Yet the decisions will impact on the lives of every 
one in this country, in the form of further cutbacks in desper- 
ately needed social services. 

All the many nationalities of the former Yugoslavia have 
shown from past experience that they are capable of resolving 
their differences. They lived together in peace and harmony for 
forty-five years under a socialist federation. Although more than 
one million people died and millions were uprooted during 
World War II, driving out the imperialist invaders became a 
unifying force that galvanized all the many divided nationalities. 

U.S. involvement in the Balkans is not about helping any 
of the people in the region — Muslims, Croats, Serbs, or Albani- 
ans. The only interest of the Pentagon is in creating weak, de- 
pendent puppet regimes in order to dominate the entire region 
economically and politically. Only the giant multinational corpo- 
rations will benefit. 

The only demand for those genuinely concerned with 
peace is, "U.S. out, NATO out." The involvement of the Penta- 
gon can only bring wider war, more death and destruction, 
shattered lives, and hundreds of thousands of additional refu- 
gees. The same demand needs to be raised by the anti-war 
movements in each of the West European countries — Germany, 
France, Britain, and Italy. They and the U.S. are imperialist 
powers, meaning that the highest profits of the corporations of 
these capitalist countries come from their investments and eco- 
nomic control of other less developed countries 

It is not an easy task to build an anti-war movement. It 
must combat all the lies of the corporate media. But it has been 
done before. As the war widens and the cutbacks in education. 



SARA FLOUNDERS 75 



health care, and housing continue here in the U.S., this idea will 
take root. 

The only way to end the Vietnam war was for the U.S. 
to get out. The years and years of negotiations were only an ex- 
cuse to widen the war, continue the bombing, and further the 
intervention. By the end of the war, all of Indochina lay in ruins, 
the landscape pockmarked with bomb craters and poisoned with 
Agent Orange. Getting the U.S. and the other imperialists out of 
the Balkans is the only way to keep this war from escalating 
into an even wider struggle that would engulf the whole region. 

' CIA report described in thejVe>v York Times, Nov. 28, 1990. 

^ New York Newsday, 19 December 1994. 

' See p. 134 of Gregory Elich's essay in this book. 

Jacques Merlino, Les Verites yugoslaves ne sont pas toutes bonnes a dire 
(The Truth from Yugoslavia Is Not Easy to Report) (Paris: Editions Albin 
Michel S.A., 1993). Unofficial translation. 

* New York Times, 19 October 1993. 

* Newsweek, 4 January 1993. 

^ New York Times, 15 January 1993. 
' USA Today, 13 January 1993. 
' New York Times, 17 June 1993. 

'° Gen. Charles G. Boyd, "Making Peace with the Guilty: The Truth about 
Bosnia," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995, p. 22. 
" Washington Post, 30 April 1994. 

New York Times, 24 June 1994. 

New York Times, 24 April 1994. 

Reuters, 18 February 1994. 
" New York Times, 10 November 1994. 
'* Independent, 6 August 1995. 

Times, 5 August 1995. 
" UN Document S/1995/444, 30 May 1995. 
" David Binder, "Bosnia's Bombers," The Nation, 2 October 1995. 
^° Excerpted in the New York Times, 8 March 1992. 
^' New York Times, 29 November 1992. 



PART TWO 



BACKGROUND 

TO THE 
BREAKUP OF 
YUGOSLAVIA 



4 Dismantling 

Yugoslavia, 
colonizing Bosnia 

Michel Chossudovsky' 

As heavily armed U.S. and NATO troops enforce the peace in 
Bosnia, the press and politicians alike portray Western interven- 
tion in the former Yugoslavia as a noble, if agonizingly belated, 
response to an outbreak of ethnic massacres and human rights 
violations. In the wake of the November 1995 Dayton peace 
accords, the West is eager to touch up its self-portrait as savior 
of the Southern Slavs and get on with "the work of rebuilding" 
the newly sovereign states. But following a pattern set early on. 
Western public opinion has been misled. The conventional wis- 
dom holds that the plight of the Balkans is the outcome of an 
"aggressive nationalism," the inevitable result of deep-seated 
ethnic and religious tensions rooted in history.' Likewise, com- 
mentators cite "Balkan power-plays" and the clash of political 
personalities to explain the conflicts.^ 

Lost in the barrage of images and self-serving analyses 
are the economic and social causes of the conflict. The deep- 
seated economic crisis which preceded the civil war is long for- 
gotten. 



This article appeared originally in Covert Action Quarterly, No. 56, 
Spring 1996. 



80 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



The strategic interests of Germany and the U.S . in laying 
the groundwork for the disintegration of Yugoslavia go unmen- 
tioned, as does the role of external creditors and international 
financial institutions. In the eyes of the global media, Western 
powers bear no responsibility for the impoverishment and de- 
struction of a nation of twenty-four million people. 

But through their domination of the global financial 
system, the Western powers, in pursuit of national and collec- 
tive strategic interests, helped bring the Yugoslav economy to 
its knees and stirred simmering ethnic and social conflicts. Now 
it is the turn of Yugoslavia's war-ravaged successor states to 
feel the tender mercies of the international financial community. 

As the world focuses on troop movements and cease 
fires, the international financial institutions are busily collecting 
former Yugoslavia's external debt from its remnant states, while 
transforming the Balkans into a safe-haven for free enterprise. 
With a Bosnian peace settlement holding under NATO guns, the 
West has unveiled a "reconstruction" program that strips that 
brutalized country of sovereignty to a degree not seen in Europe 
since the end of World War II. It consists largely of making 
Bosnia a divided territory under NATO military occupation and 
Western administration. 

NEOCOLONIAL BOSNIA 

Resting on the Dayton Accords, which created a Bosnian 
"constitution," the U. S. and the European Union have installed 
a full-fledged colonial administration in Bosnia. At its head is 
their appointed High Representative, Carl Bildt, a former 
Swedish prime minister and European Union representative in 
Bosnian peace negotiations.^ Bildt has full executive powers in 
all civilian matters, with the right to overrule the governments 
of both the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska 
(Serbian Bosnia). To make the point crystal clear, the accords 
spell out that "The High Representative is the final authority in 
theater regarding, interpretation of the agreements.'"* He will 
work with NATO's Military High Command of the Implemen- 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 



Bl 



tation Force/Operation Joint Endeavor (IFOR) as well as 
creditors and donors. 

The UN Security Council has also appointed a "com- 
missioner" under the High Representative to run an interna- 
tional civilian police force. Irish police official Peter Fitzgerald, 
with previous UN policing experience in Namibia, El Salvador, 
and Cambodia,^ presides over some 1,700 policemen from fif- 
teen countries. The police will be dispatched to Bosnia after a 
five-day training program in Zagreb.* 

The new constitution hands the reins of economic policy 
over to the Bretton Woods institutions and the London-based 
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). 
The IMF is empowered to appoint the first governor of the 
Bosnian Central Bank, who, like the High Representative, "shall 
not be a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina or a neighboring 
State."' 

Under the IMF regency, the Central Bank will not be 
allowed to fijnction as a Central Bank: "For the first six years 
it may not extend credit by creating money, operating in this 
respect as a currency board." Neither will Bosnia be allowed to 
have its own currency (issuing paper money only when there is 
fijll foreign exchange backing), nor permitted to mobilize its in- 
ternal resources.' Its ability to self-finance its reconstruction 
through an independent monetary policy is blunted fiom the 
outset. 

While the Central Bank is in IMF custody, the European 
Bank for Reconstruction and Development heads the Commis- 
sion on Public Corporations, which supervises operations of all 
public sector corporations, including energy, water, postal 
services, telecommunications, and transportation. The EBRD 
president appoints the commission's chair and will direct public 
sector restructuring, meaning primarily the sell-ofF of state and 
socially-owned assets and the procurement of long term invest- 
ment fiinds.' Western creditors explicitly created the EBRD "to 
give a distinctively political dimension to lending."'" 



82 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



As the West trumpets its support for democracy, actual 
political power rests in the hands of a parallel Bosnian "state" 
whose executive positions are held by non-citizens. Western 
creditors have embedded their interests in a constitution hastily 
written on their behalf They have done so without a constitu- 
tional assembly, without consultations with Bosnian citizens' 
organizations and without providing a means of amending this 
"constitution." Their plans to rebuild Bosnia appear more suited 
to sating creditors than satisfying even the elementary needs of 
Bosnians. 

And why not? The neocolonization of Bosnia is the logi- 
cal culmination of long Western efforts to undo Yugoslavia's 
experiment in market socialism and workers' self-management 
and impose in its place the diktat of the free market. 

SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME 

Multi-ethnic, socialist Yugoslavia was once a regional industrial 
power and economic success. In the two decades prior to 1980, 
annual GDP growth averaged 6.1 percent, medical care was 
free, the literacy rate was of the order of 9 1 percent, and the life 
expectancy was seventy-two years." But after a decade of 
Western economic ministrations and five years of disintegration, 
war, boycott, and embargo, the economies of the former Yugo- 
slavia are prostrate, their industrial sectors dismantled. 

Yugoslavia's implosion was in part due to U.S. machi- 
nations. Despite Belgrade's non-alignment and its extensive 
trading relations with the European Community and the U.S., 
the Reagan administration targeted the Yugoslav economy in a 
"Secret Sensitive" 1984 National Security Decision Directive 
(NSDD 133), "United States Policy toward Yugoslavia." A 
censored version declassified in 1990 largely elaborated on 
NSDD 54 on Eastern Europe, issued in 1982. The latter advo- 
cated "expanded efforts to promote a 'quiet revolution' to 
overthrow Communist governments and parties" while reinte- 
grating the countries of Eastern Europe into a market-oriented 
economy. 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 



83 



The U.S. had earlier joined Belgrade's other interna- 
tional creditors in imposing a first round of macroeconomic re- 
form in 1980, shortly before the death of Marshal Tito. Succes- 
sive IMF-sponsored programs since then continued the 
disintegration of the industrial sector and the piecemeal dis- 
mantling of the Yugoslav welfare state. Debt restructuring 
agreements increased foreign debt, and a mandated currency 
devaluation also hit hard at Yugoslavs' standard of living. 

This initial round of restructuring set the pattern. 
Throughout the 1 980s, the IMF prescribed further doses of its 
bitter economic medicine periodically as the Yugoslav economy 
slowly lapsed into a coma. Industrial production declined to a 
negative 10 percent growth rate by 1990'^ — with all its predict- 
able social consequences. 

MR. MARKOVIC GOES TO WASHINGTON 

In autumn 1989, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Yugo- 
slav federal Premier Ante Markovic met in Washington with 
President George Bush to cap negotiations for a new financial 
aid package. In return for assistance, Yugoslavia agreed to even 
more sweeping economic reforms, including a new devalued 
currency, another wage freeze, sharp cuts in government 
spending, and the elimination of socially-owned, worker- 
managed companies.'" The Belgrade nomenklatura, with the 
assistance of Western advisors, had laid the groundwork for the 
prime minister's mission by implementing beforehand many of 
the required reforms, including a major liberalization of foreign 
investment legislation. 

"Shock therapy" began in January 1990. Although infla- 
tion had eaten away at earnings, the IMF ordered that wages be 
frozen at their mid-November 1989 level. Prices continued to 
rise unabated, and real wages collapsed by 41 percent in the first 
six months of 1990.'^ 

The IMF also effectively controlled the Yugoslav central 
bank. Its tight money policy further crippled federal Yugosla- 
via's ability to finance its economic and social programs. State 



84 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the re- 
publics and provinces went instead to service Belgrade's debt 
with the Paris and London clubs. The republics were largely left 
to their own devices. 

In one fell swoop, the reformers engineered the final 
collapse of Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally 
wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial 
arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fijeled 
secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as 
ethnic divisions and virtually ensured the de facto secession of 
the republics. The IMF-induced budgetary crisis created an eco- 
nomic fait accompli that paved the way for Croatia's and 
Slovenia's formal secession in June 1991. 

CRUSHED BY THE INVISIBLE HAND 

The reforms demanded by Belgrade's creditors also struck at 
the heart of Yugoslavia's system of socially-owned and worker- 
managed enterprises. As one observer noted: 

The objective was to subject the Yugoslav economy 
to massive privatization and the dismantling of the 
public sector. The Communist Party bureaucracy, 
most notably its military and intelligence sector, was 
canvassed specifically and offered political and eco- 
nomic backing on the condition that wholesale scut- 
tling of social protections for Yugoslavia's work 
force was imposed. 

It was an offer that a desperate Yugoslavia could not 
refuse. Advised by Western lawyers and consultants, Mark- 
ovic's government passed financial legislation that forced 
"insolvent" businesses into bankruptcy or liquidation. Under the 
new law, if a business were unable to pay its bills for 30 days 
running, or for thirty days within a forty-five-day period, the 
government would launch bankruptcy procedures within the 
next fifteen days. 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 



85 



The assault on the socialist economy also included a new 
banking law designed to trigger the liquidation of the socially 
owned "Associated Banks." Within two years, more than half 
the country's banks had vanished, to be replaced by newly- 
formed "independent profit-oriented institutions." 

These changes in the legal framework, combined with 
the IMF's tight money policy toward industry and the opening 
of the economy to foreign competition, accelerated industrial 
decline. From 1989 through September 1990, more than a thou- 
sand companies went into bankruptcy. By 1 990, the annual rate 
of growth of GDP had collapsed to minus 7.5 percent. In 1991, 
GDP declined by a further 15 percent, while industrial output 
shrank by 21 percent." 

The IMF package unquestionably precipitated the col- 
lapse of much of Yugoslavia's well-developed heavy industry. 
Other socially-owned enterprises survived only by not paying 
workers. More than half a million workers still on company pay- 
rolls did not get regular paychecks in late 1990. They were the 
lucky ones. Some six hundred thousand Yugoslavs had already 
lost their jobs by September 1 990, and that was only the begin- 
ning. According to the World Bank, another 2,435 industrial 
enterprises, including some of the country's largest, were slated 
for liquidation. Their 1.3 million workers — half the remaining 
industrial work force — were "redundant."" 

As 1991 dawned, real wages were in free fall, social 
programs had collapsed, and unemployment ran rampant. The 
dismantling of the industrial economy was breathtaking in its 
magnitude and brutality. Its social and political impact, while 
not as easily quantified, was tremendous. "The pips are squeak- 
ing," as London's patrician F/>ja«c/a/ Times put it." 

Less archly, Yugoslav President Borisav Jovic warned 
that the reforms were "having a markedly unfavorable impact on 
the overall situation in society. Citizens have lost faith in the 
state and its institutions. The further deepening of the eco- 
nomic crisis and the growth of social tensions has had a vital 
impact on the deterioration of the political-security situation."^" 



B6 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



POLITICAL ECONOMY OF DISINTEGRATION 

Some Yugoslavs joined together in a doomed battle to prevent 
the destruction of their economy and polity. As one observer 
found, "Worker resistance crossed ethnic lines, as Serbs, 
Croats, Bosnians and Slovenians mobilized shoulder to 
shoulder with their fellow workers."^' But the economic strug- 
gle also heightened already tense relations among the repub- 
lics — and between the republics and Belgrade. 

Serbia rejected the austerity plan outright, and some 
650,000 Serbian workers struck against the federal government 
to force wage hikes. The other republics followed different 
and sometimes self-contradictory paths. 

In relatively wealthy Slovenia, for instance, secessionist 
leaders such as Social Democratic party chair Joze Pucnik sup- 
ported the reforms: "From an economic standpoint, I can only 
agree with socially harmful measures in our society, such as 
rising unemployment or cutting workers' rights, because they 
are necessary to advance the economic reform process."^ 

But at the same time, Slovenia joined other republics in 
challenging the federal government's efforts to restrict their 
economic autonomy. Both Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman and 
Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic joined Slovene leaders in railing 
against Yugoslavia's attempts to impose harsh reforms.^'* 

In the multi-party elections in 1990, economic policy 
was at the center of the political debate as separatist coalitions 
ousted the Communists in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia. Just as 
economic collapse spurred the drift toward separation, the sepa- 
ration in turn exacerbated the economic crisis. Cooperation 
among the republics virtually ceased. And with the republics at 
each others' throats, both the economy and the nation itself em- 
barked on a vicious downward spiral. 

The process sped downward as the republics' leader- 
ships deliberately fostered social and economic divisions to 
strengthen their own hands: "The republican oligarchies, who all 
had visions of a 'national renaissance' of their own, instead of 
choosing between a genuine Yugoslav market and hyperinfla- 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 87 



tion, opted for war which would disguise the real causes of the 
economic catastrophe."^' The simultaneous appearance of mili- 
tias loyal to secessionist leaders only hastened the descent into 
chaos. These militias, with their escalating atrocities, not only 
split the population along ethnic lines, they also fragmented the 
workers' movement.^* 

WESTERN HELP 

The austerity measures had laid the basis for the recolonization 
of the Balkans. Whether that required the breakup of Yugosla- 
via was subject to debate among the Western powers, with 
Germany leading the push for secession and the U.S., fearful of 
opening a nationalist Pandora's box, originally arguing for 
Yugoslavia's preservation. 

Following the decisive victory of Franjo Tudjman and 
the rightist Democratic Union in Croatia in May 1990, German 
Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, in almost daily con- 
tacts with his counterpart in Zagreb, gave his go-ahead for 
Croatian secession." Germany did not passively support seces- 
sion; it "forced the pace of international diplomacy" and pres- 
sured its Western allies to recognize Slovenia and Croatia. 
Germany sought a free hand among its allies "to pursue eco- 
nomic dominance in the whole of Mitteleuropa."^* 

Washington, on the other hand, favored "a loose unity 
while encouraging democratic development. Secretary of 
State] Baker told Tudjman and [Slovenia's President] Milan 
Kucan that the United States would not encourage or support 
unilateral secession but if they had to leave, he urged them 
to leave by a negotiated agreement."^' 

Instead, Slovenia, Croatia, and finally, Bosnia fought 
bloody civil wars against "rump" Yugoslavia (Serbia and Mon- 
tenegro) or Serbian nationalists or both. But now, the U.S. has 
belatedly taken an active diplomatic role in Bosnia, strengthened 
its relations with Croatia, and Macedonia, and positioned itself 
to play a leading role in the region's economic and political fu- 
ture. 



88 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



THE POST-WAR REGIME 

Western creditors have now turned their attention to Yugosla- 
via's successor states. As with the demise of Yugoslavia, the 
economic aspects of post-war reconstruction remain largely un- 
heralded, but the prospects for rebuilding the newly independent 
republics appear bleak. Yugoslavia's foreign debt has been 
carefully divided and allocated to the successor republics,'" 
which are now strangled in separate debt rescheduling and 
structural adjustment agreements. 

The consensus among donors and international agencies 
is that past macroeconomic reforms adopted under IMF advice 
had not quite met their goal and further shock therapy is re- 
quired to restore "economic health" in Yugoslavia's successor 
states. Croatia and Macedonia have followed the IMF's direc- 
tion Both have agreed to loan packages — to pay off their 
shares of the Yugoslav debt — which require a consolidation of 
the process begun with Ante Markovic's bankruptcy program. 
The too familiar pattern of plant closings, induced bank failures, 
and impoverishment continues apace. 

And global capital applauds. Despite an emerging crisis 
in social welfare and the decimation of his economy, Macedo- 
nian Finance Minister Ljube Trpevski proudly informed the 
press that "the World Bank and the IMF place Macedonia 
among the most successful countries in regard to current transi- 
tion reforms."' ' 

The head of the IMF mission to Macedonia, Paul Thom- 
sen, agreed. He avowed that "the results of the stabilization 
program were impressive" and gave particular credit to "the ef- 
ficient wages policy" adopted by the Skopje government. Still, 
his negotiators added, even more budget cutting will be neces- 
sary." 

But Western intervention is making its most serious in- 
roads on national sovereignty in Bosnia. The neocolonial ad- 
ministration imposed by the Dayton Accords, supported by 
NATO's firepower, ensures that Bosnia's future will be deter- 
mined in Washin^on, Bonn, and Brussels — not Sarajevo. 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 89 



RECONSTRUCTION COLONIAL-STYLE 

If Bosnia is ever to emerge from the ravages of war and neoco- 
lonialism, massive reconstruction will be essential. But judging 
by recent Balkan history, Western assistance is more likely to 
drag Bosnia into the Third World rather than lift it to parity 
with its European neighbors. 

The Bosnian government estimates that reconstruction 
costs will reach $47 billion. Western donors have pledged $3 
billion in reconstruction loans, yet only $518 million have so far 
been granted. Part of this money is tagged to finance some of 
the local civilian costs of IFOR's military deployment and part 
to repay international creditors. 

Fresh loans will pay back old debt. The Central Bank of 
the Netherlands has generously provided "bridge financing" of 
$37 million to allow Bosnia to pay its arrears with the IMF, 
without which the IMF will not lend it fresh money. But in a 
cruel and absurd paradox, the sought-after loans from the IMF's 
newly created "Emergency Window" for "post-conflict coun- 
tries" will not be used for post-war reconstruction. Instead, they 
will repay the Dutch Central Bank, which had coughed up the 
money to settle IMF arrears in the first place. Debt piles up, 
and little new money goes for rebuilding Bosnia's war-torn 
economy. 

While rebuilding is sacrificed on the altar of debt repay- 
ment, Western governments and corporations show greater in- 
terest in gaining access to strategic natural resources. With the 
discovery of energy reserves in the region, the partition of Bos- 
nia between the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the 
Bosnian-Serb Republika Srpska under the Dayton Accords has 
taken on new strategic importance. Documents in the hands of 
Croatia and the Bosnian Serbs indicate that coal and oil deposits 
have been identified on the eastern slope of the Dinarides 
Thrust, retaken fi-om rebel Krajina Serbs by the U.S. -backed 
Croatian army in the final offensives before the Dayton Ac- 
cords. Bosnian officials report that Chicago-based Amoco was 



90 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



among several foreign firms that subsequently initiated explora- 
tory surveys in Bosnia.^' 

"Substantial" petroleum fields also lie in the Serb-held 
part of Croatia just across the Sava river from Tuzla, the head- 
quarters for the U.S. military zone.'^ Exploration operations 
went on during the war, but the World Bank and the multina- 
tionals which conducted the operations kept local governments 
in the dark, presumably to prevent them from acting to grab 
potentially valuable areas." 

With their attention devoted to debt repayment and po- 
tential energy bonanzas, the Western powers have shown little 
interest in rectifying the crimes committed under the rubric of 
ethnic cleansing. The seventy thousand NATO troops on hand 
to "enforce the peace" will accordingly devote their efforts to 
administering the partition of Bosnia in accordance with West- 
em economic interests rather than restoring the status quo ante. 

While local leaders and Western interests share the 
spoils of the former Yugoslav economy, they have entrenched 
socio-ethnic divisions in the very structure of partition. This 
permanent fragmentation of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines 
serves to thwart a united resistance of Yugoslavs of all ethnic 
origins against the recolonization of their homeland. 

But what's new? As one observer caustically noted, all 
of the leaders of Yugoslavia's successor states have worked 
closely with the West: "All the current leaders of the former 
Yugoslav republics were Communist Party fiinctionaries and 
each in turn vied to meet the demands of the World Bank and 
the International Monetary Fund, the better to qualify for in- 
vestment loans and substantial perks for the leadership."^' 

Western-backed neoliberal macroeconomic restructuring 
helped destroy Yugoslavia. Yet, since the onset of war in 1991, 
the global media has carefully overlooked or denied its central 
role. Instead, it has joined the chorus singing praises of the free 
market as the basis for rebuilding a war-shattered economy. The 
social and political impact of economic restructuring in Yugo- 
slavia has been carefully erased from our collective understand- 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 



91 



ing. Opinion-makers instead dogmatically present cultural, eth- 
nic, and religious divisions as the sole cause of the crisis. In re- 
ality, they are the consequence of a much deeper process of 
economic and political fracturing. 

This false consciousness not only masks the truth, it also 
prevents us from acknowledging precise historical occurrences. 

Ultimately it distorts the true sources of social conflict. 
When applied to the former Yugoslavia, it obscures the histori- 
cal foundations of South Slavic unity, solidarity and identity. 
But this false consciousness lives worldwide, where the only 
possible world is one of shuttered factories, jobless workers, 
and gutted social programs, and "bitter economic medicine" is 
the only prescription. 

At stake in the Balkans are the lives of millions of peo- 
ple. Macroeconomic reform there has destroyed livelihoods and 
made a joke of the right to work. It has put basic needs such as 
food and shelter beyond the reach of many. It has degraded 
culture and national identity. In the name of global capital, bor- 
ders have been redrav^, legal codes rewritten, industries de- 
stroyed, financial and banking systems dismantled, social pro- 
grams eliminated. No alternative to global capital, be it market 
socialism or "national" capitalism, will be allowed to exist. 

But what happened to Yugoslavia — and now continues 
in its weak successor states — should resonate beyond the Bal- 
kans. Yugoslavia is a mirror for similar economic restructuring 
programs in not only the developing world but also in the U.S., 
Canada and Western Europe. 

The Yugoslav reforms are the cruel reflection of a de- 
structive economic model pushed to the extreme. 

' See, e.g., former U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman, 
"The Last Ambassador, A Memoir of the Collapse of Yugoslavia," Foreign 
Affairs, \. 74, a 2, 1995. 

^ For a critique, see Milos Vasic, et al., "War Against Bosnia," Vreme 
News Digest Agency, 13 April 1992. 

' Testimony of Richard C. Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau 
of European and Canadian Affairs, before the Senate Appropriations 
Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, 19 December 1995. 



92 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



" Dayton Peace Accords, "Agreement on High Representative," Articles I 
and II, 15 December 1995. 

' United Nations General Secretariat, Curriculum Vitae of Thomas Peter 
Fitzgerald, n.d. (1995). 

* Dayton Peace Accords, "Agreement on International Police Task Force," 
Article II. 

' Ibid. , "Agreement on General Framework," Article VII. 
^ Ibid 

' Ibid, , "Agreement on Public Corporations," Article I. 

'° "Stabilising Europe," The Times (London), 22 November 1990. 

" World Bank, World Development Report 1991, Statistical Annex, Tables 

1 and 2, 1991. 

Sean Gervasi, "Germany, the U.S., and the Yugoslav Crisis," Covert 
Action, a 43, Winter 1992-93, p 42. 

World Bank, Industrial Restructuring Study: Overview, Issues, and 
Strategy for Restructuring, Washington, DC, June 1991, pp. 10, 14. 

Gervasi, op. cit., p. 44. 

World Bank, Restructuring, op. cit. , p. viii. 

Ralph Schoenman, "Divide and Rule Schemes in the Balkans," The Or- 
ganizer {Sin Francisco), 11 September 1995. 

Judith Kiss, "Debt Management in Eastern Europe," Eastern European 
Economics, May- June 1994, p. 59. 

Already laid-ofTand "redundant" workers constituted fully two-thirds of 
the industrial workforce. World Bank, Restructuring, op. cit.. Annex I. 
" Jurek Martin, "The road to be trodden to Kosovo," Financial Times, 13 
March 1991. 

^° British Broadcasting Service, "Borisav Jovic Tells SFRY Assembly 
Situation Has 'Dramatically Deteriorated,' " 27 April 1991. 
^' Schoenman, op. cit. 
Gervasi, op. cit., p. 44. 

Federico Nier-Fischer, "Eastern Europe: Social Crisis," InterPress Serv- 
ice, 5 September 1990. 

Klas Bergman, "Markovic Seeks to Keep Yugoslavia One Nation," 
Christian Science Monitor, 11 July 1990, p. 6. 

Dimitrije Boarov, "A Brief Review of Anti-Inflation Programs: the Curse 
of the Dead Programs," Vreme News Digest Agency, 13 April 1992. 
''Ibid. 

^' Gervasi, op. cit., p. 65. 

I bid, p. 45. 
^' Zimmennan, op. cit. 

^ In June 1995, the IMF, acting on behalf of creditor banks and Western 
governments, proposed to redistribute that debt as follows: Serbia and 



MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 



93 



Montenegro, 36 percent; Croatia, 28 percent; Slovenia, 16 percent; Bosnia- 
Herzegovina, 16 percent; and Macedonia, 5 percent. 

Macedonian Information Liaison Service News, 1 1 April 1995. 
''Ibid. 

^ "The Government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall pro- 
vide, free of cost, such facilities NATO needs for the preparation and exe- 
cution of the Operation" (Annex 1-A). Under the accord, NATO personnel 
will pay no Bosnian taxes, including sales taxes. 
^ United Press International, "IMF to admit Bosnia on Wednesday," 18 
December 1995. 

Frank Viviano and Kenneth Howe, "Bosnia Leaders Say Nation Atop Oil 
Fields," San Francisco Chronicle, 28 August 1995; Scott Cooper, 
"Western Aims in Ex- Yugoslavia Unmasked," The Organizer, 24 Septem- 
ber 1995. 

^* Viviano and Howe, ibid. 
Cooper, op. cit. 
Schoenman, op. cit. 



5 How imperialism 

broke up the 
Yugoslav Socialist 
Federation 

Sam Marcy' 



It is impossible to seriously consider the Yugoslav situation 
without first taking into account some pertinent aspects of his- 
tory and politics. 

The imperialist conspiracy to break up the Socialist Fed- 
eration of Yugoslavia didn't start yesterday. It didn't start with 
the UN Security Council voting for sanctions. It didn't start 
with the earlier meeting of the European Economic Community 
in Spain. It started a long time ago, when the Anti-Fascist 
Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia ( AVNOJ), led by 
Tito (Josip Broz) and the Communist Party, defeated the royal- 
ist and reactionary forces of Col. Draza Mihajlovic and his 
Chetniks. 

The front mobilized the workers, peasants, progressive 
intellectuals, and thousands of middle-class people into the Par- 



" This article originally appeared in Workers World newspaper, 1 1 June 
1992. 



SAM MARCY 95 



tisan guerrilla army that defeated the German Nazi and Italian 
fascist invaders and their quisling regimes. 

The U.S. and the British until 1943 recognized Miha- 
jlovic and his royalist, reactionary coalition and refused recog- 
nition to the representatives of the Yugoslav people organized 
in the AVNOJ. Then, seeing that the progressive and revolu- 
tionary forces were on the verge of scoring a historic victory, 
the imperialists suddenly changed sides and began to give token 
support to the Partisans. They did so largely to disrupt the so- 
cialist solidarity between the Yugoslav leaders and the Soviet 
Union. 

The very same forces that fought in Yugoslavia against 
the revolution, particularly the royalist riffraff and pro-fascist 
groupings, have all these years been promoted, secured, culti- 
vated, and supported financially by the U.S. and European im- 
perialists. Now they are being pushed forward as an authentic 
leadership to replace the Yugoslav government in Belgrade. 

MONARCHIST DEMOCRATS? 

In recent days, the imperialist press have written about a 
"democratic opposition" in Serbia. Who are they? 

There is the "Democratic Movement of Serbia, which 
embraces the old monarchy and enjoys the support of many 
Serbian traditionalists."' What are these monarchist traditions? 
Suppression of the Serbian people! These idle rich have for dec- 
ades been living it up in the decadent casinos and watering 
places of Europe. 

"Crown Prince Alexander — the son of the last king of 
Yugoslavia who was forced into exile during World War II — 
met recently in Washington with senior White House and State 
Department officials. This week he expressed his willingness to 
preside over a constitutional monarchy in cooperation with the 
democratic movement and spoke of a coalition government that 
would fall into the mainstream of European democracy. It 
seems likely that the opposition will win the backing of the 



96 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Serbian Orthodox Church, which reportedly has dispatched 
senior clerics to meet with the prince."^ 

This stooge, who is ordered around by U.S. imperialism 
like an errand boy, has expressed his willingness to head up a 
"democratic government." And giving him their blessing are the 
reactionary clergy that supported the Mihajlovic forces. This 
"Democratic Movement of Serbia" is nothing but the old reac- 
tionaries in a new form. They are now boycotting the elections 
in Serbia because they haven't got the forces to contest them. 
The sanctions against Serbia just passed' by the UN Security 
Council — the same council that okayed sanctions and then out- 
right imperialist war against Iraq — are timed to coincide with 
and disrupt the elections. 

An editorial headed "Popular Opposition" (!) in the Fi- 
nancial Times of London calls for the isolation of Serbia: "The 
demonstration inside Belgrade by some fifty thousand anti-war 
protesters was an indication that popular opposition to [Serbian 
leader Slobodan Milosevic's] policies is growing, at least in the 
capital. However, the peace movement in Serbia is mainly mid- 
dle-class based. In other words, it's a bourgeois, pro- 
capitalist, pro-imperialist opposition. The demonstrations seem 
to be precisely timed to undermine the government of Mi- 
losevic. 

"It would be an illusion to believe," concedes the Lon- 
don big business paper, "that it finds much of an echo in the ru- 
ral Serb and Montenegrin population, not least the Serbs in 
Bosnia who look on the Belgrade government as their main 
protector and champion." A valuable admission from the mouth 
of the enemy. What's missing here is any word on the attitude 
of the workers. Notwithstanding the political confusion caused 
by the maneuvers of the principal imperialist powers involved in 
the current struggle, the workers are supporting the Yugoslav 
government. 

Most deeply involved among the European imperialist 
powers are the Germans and Austrians and, to a lesser extent. 



On May 30, 1992. 



SAM MARCY 97 



France and Italy. That's who dominated the European Com- 
munity conference on the Balkans held recently in Spain. The 
U.S. at first feigned disinterest in this struggle. Back on March 
31, 1991, "U.S. President George Bush wrote to Ante Mark- 
ovic, the [Yugoslav] federal premier, expressing his support for 
a united Yugoslavia and warning that those who seceded unilat- 
erally would not be rewarded by the U.S., a warning clearly di- 
rected against Croatia and Slovenia.'"* However, "On June 25, 
first Croatia and then Slovenia proclaimed its independence. 
Two days later, the [Yugoslav army] attacked Slovene border 
posts that had been taken over by the Slovene Territorial Army 
and customs officials. Fighting extended to other parts of 
Slovenia. Germany then "set off a campaign to recognize 
Croatian independence."^ 

The U.S. seemed to be outmaneuvered and to have lost 
interest in this struggle, in which Germany was the principal 
actor through the medium of the European Community. How- 
ever, the apparent ambiguity of the U.S. was ended when in 
September Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State under Presi- 
dent Jimmy Carter, was appointed special UN envoy to Yugo- 
slavia. Now Washington was fully in it. Germany made it clear it 
would recognize Slovenia and Croatia. By December 23, 1991, 
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia indicated they, too, were 
moving toward secession. 

IMPERIALISM AND SELF-DETERMINATION 

What is the Leninist point of view in a case like this? Is the se- 
cession of these republics from Yugoslavia an example of self- 
determination? 

Each and every nation has a right to determine its des- 
tiny. This can mean integration; it can mean joining in a federa- 
tion; it can also mean exercising the right to leave, to secession. 
In any case, it has to express the will of the nation or national- 
ity. But when the choice is the product of external imperialist 
pressures of an economic, political, and even military character, 
that is another matter. 



98 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Was the president of Croatia defending genuine self- 
determination when he openly called for the U.S. Sixth Fleet to 
come to Dubrovnik?' 

The strategy of the imperialists has been to lure the re- 
publics away from the Yugoslav federation. But they are not 
united. There is a struggle between Germany and the U.S. over 
who will get the dominant position in the entire Balkan area. 
Each has its own forum. Germany and the U. S. are both seeking 
to make pawns of the republics. The U.S. may at one time sup- 
port the Yugoslav Federal Republic but later come out against 
it; Germany may support Croatia and Slovenia at one point and 
later change. It all depends strictly on the military and political 
exigencies of the situation. But each is attempting to win overall 
control for itself 

RICH VS. POOR REPUBLICS 

As in so many other areas of the world, there is a more devel- 
oped so-called northern part of Yugoslavia where the bour- 
geoisie is stronger, and a southern, poorer part. Slovenia and 
Croatia are more developed, whereas Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ma- 
cedonia and Montenegro, as well as the province of Kosovo in 
Serbia, are less developed. 

As of 1975, Croatia was the most industrialized and 
prosperous. "More than one-third of Croatia is forested and 
lumber is a major export. The region is the leading coal pro- 
ducer of Yugoslavia and also has deposits of bauxite, copper, 
petroleum and iron ore. The republic is the most industrialized 
and prosperous area of Yugoslavia."' Since then, Slovenia has 
overtaken Croatia as the most developed. 

Henry Kamm wrote in the New York Times about the 
rich-poor split in Yugoslavia. "The southern republics — Bosnia- 
Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro as well as the province 
of Kosovo — are subsidized by the more prosperous areas 
through a federal fund and direct contributions. Slovenia [is 
aware] that its 2 jnillion people have the highest level of eco- 
nomic development among the republics and provinces that 



SAM MARCY 99 



make up the federal country of 23 million. Slovenia is a small 
Slavic republic. The economic crisis has sharpened the contrast 
between the rich and the poor."' 

Kamm interviewed people in Slovenia who resented the 
southern republics. Milos Kobe said, "Fantastic sums go to the 
south and they don't know how to use them economically." A 
man named Kmecl told the U.S. reporter, "We cannot invest in 
renewal because our capital is going for the development of the 
underdeveloped. A small country like this cannot afford this. 
After forty years of this policy, [the southern republics] are still 
not developed and we can't maintain the pace. We're immobi- 
lized. A technologically highly developed society like Slovenia 
needs always more for its own science and cuhure while the un- 
derdeveloped need more for social protection than they pro- 
duce." 

We have heard this refrain before. It sounds just like the 
rich bourgeois elements in any capitalist country who complain 
that they have to subsidize the poor. They forget that their 
riches come from the sweat and blood of the workers in every 
one of these republics and that they became industrialized only 
because of the socialization of the means of production and 
centralized planning. This is what protected them from the rav- 
ages of imperialist penetration. The federation was like a secu- 
rity blanket that helped them develop. 

The imperialists have lured the bourgeois elements of 
Slovenia and Croatia in particular with the promise of becoming 
an integral part of the European Community and sharing in its 
alleged prosperity. They think they'll get a market for their 
products and be able to deal with the West Europeans on an 
equal basis, without being "encumbered" by the poorer repub- 
lics in the federation. All of them, including Serbia, are being 
lured to invest their foreign exchange in Europe or America, 
thereby becoming (they hope) a prosperous part of the imperial- 
ist system. 

The imperialists have already succeeded in getting the 
Yugoslavs to invest large sums in the West. "The central bank 



100 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



of Yugoslavia won an important battle in a lawsuit against 
Drexel, Bumham, Lambert and some of its top executives," 
writes the New York Times. The Yugoslav bank "contended it 
had been tricked by Drexel into providing $70 million that had 
been used in a failed effort to shore up the failed firm."*" 

The Europeans' strategy is to promise the bourgeois 
elements all sorts of things once they are part of the European 
Community. And while Washington wants to win these repub- 
lics over to itself, it would still prefer that they be with the 
Europeans than that they remain in a Yugoslavia with the po- 
tential for reconstituting a socialist federation. 

The Financial Times of London editorialized to its fel- 
low imperialists on the Continent: "[WJhatever action is finally 
decided, it is essential that it should be taken by the international 
community as a whole, including the U.S., which alone has the 
clout to bring the transgressors of international law to heel. 
Anything less, as has been proved conclusively, is doomed to 
failure."^' In other words, Wall Street is the boss and you'd 
better include them in any move against Yugoslavia. 

SOCIALIST FEDERATION A GREAT 
BREAKTHROUGH 

It is impossible to understand the situation in Yugoslavia if we 
accept the imperialist premise that what has happened is merely 
the surfacing of national antagonisms that had been smothered 
or driven underground following the Yugoslav Revolution. 

The establishment of the socialist federation of Yugo- 
slavia was a historic victory. For the first time, a united front of 
the Balkan countries was formed that was able to detach them 
from imperialist domination, either Allied or Axis. It was the 
product of a revolutionary upsurge that engulfed the working- 
class movements of Europe. The federation developed over a 
period of years. Its collective presidency was a progressive new 
political conception. Each republic had an opportunity to run 
the federation fo^ a specified time and in rotation. The same 
concept prevailed in the structure of the Communist parties. 



SAM MARCY I 0 I 



They were also organized on the basis of the collective principle 
that the party in each republic had an opportunity to run the 
federated Communist Party. 

What opened the gates to imperialism? Unquestionably, 
a contributing factor was the unfortunate and ill-considered split 
between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia was ex- 
pelled from the Cominform in 1948 and thereafter isolated from 
the socialist camp. Years later an attempt was made by the 
USSR leadership to repair the situation so Yugoslavia could 
exist without leaning on or getting aid from imperialism. But the 
socialized, centralized economy of Yugoslavia had already been 
damaged. 

The gates to imperialism opened wide when Yugoslavia 
established its so-called workers' control of management. This 
sounded highly democratic — a step away from the rigid, central- 
ized control that stifled the creative energy of the working class. 
Now the workers' talents and abilities to manage Yugoslavia's 
affairs would be utilized. 

Workers' control as a step away from capitalism is pro- 
gressive. But it's a backward step when it leads away from cen- 
tralized socialist planning. The concept of workers' control 
soon degenerated into managerial control and the abandonment 
of centralized planning. Yugoslavia fell into the coils of the In- 
ternational Monetary Fund and the World Bank. By 1981, it 
was completely dominated by world flnance capital. It had 
opened wide the gates to so-called free enterprise. 

DECENTRALIZATION. THEN DISMEMBERMENT 

This development intensified competition among the various 
enterprises in each republic and among the republics themselves 
in a thoroughly bourgeois manner. Under such conditions, so- 
cialist solidarity was lost and, more significantly, the standard of 
living plummeted to such an extent that workers were no longer 
able to purchase basic necessities. By 1991, the new govern- 
ment had acquired a debt of $3 1 billion. Unemployment was 
over a million and inflation was 200 percent. 



102 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



From free enterprise, the necessity arose for free, sov- 
ereign, independent republics. Economic decentralization soon 
led to political decentralization. The dismemberment of Yugo- 
slavia had already begun. This was not an automatic, spontane- 
ous development. No sooner had there developed the greater 
autonomy of the republics than the imperialists began to fiinnel 
funds into the republics with a view to encouraging and promot- 
ing separatist and secessionist objectives. It is they who un- 
loosed the forces of virulent national hatred. The stimulation of 
national hatred is a byproduct of imperialist finance capital's 
investment in Yugoslavia. 

Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader, is also a product 
of that tendency. From the earliest days of his ascendancy to 
leadership in the Socialist Party of Serbia, the imperialist press 
played him up as a "charismatic personality." They supported 
his nationalist demagogy. It was only later that they found it 
might become disadvantageous to them if he went too far. 

It must be taken into account that there was no unified 
policy of the imperialists in Yugoslavia. Germany, Italy, France, 
and the U.S. had divergent views on how to approach the situa- 
tion. Each had its own sordid material interests, which ofren 
were hidden. Their policies can also be mistaken. It is not an 
easy task to stimulate, promote, and finance nationalist tenden- 
cies in the republics and then get them to carry out the wishes of 
individual imperialist countries without arousing all sorts of in- 
ternecine struggles. The very forces that they stimulated and 
brought into motion got out of control. 

Each imperialist power, even if it has no direct economic 
interest in Yugoslavia, is inevitably drawn into the struggle so as 
not to be left out of the picture. Each tries to find a basis for a 
relationship with Yugoslavia that will bring it advantage. It is no 
wonder that the U.S. State Department did not always know 
what to do. But one thing they were expert at: financing the 
counterrevolution. 

It is true that earlier they had tangentially supported the 
Yugoslav regime.' They feh a so-called nonaligned entity was 



SAM MARCY 



103 



useful in the struggle against the USSR. But after Tito died 
there was no basis for tolerating any remaining communist ex- 
periments. Then the dismantling began in earnest — not overtly, 
but covertly. Secret diplomacy is one of the most important 
weapons of imperialism. But the different imperialists often find 
themselves at loggerheads. While each of the imperialists would 
want to outdo the others in exerting influence over a dominant 
Serbia, they are not in favor of a Milosevic who postures as an 
extreme nationalist and who occasionally flouts European and 
U.S. intervention. 

ROLE OF MILOSEVIC 

Milosevic is not very different from any bourgeois nationalist in 
the oppressed countries. Certainly, communists are opposed to 
the ideology of a Bonapartist, especially if he has degenerated 
with the abandonment of communism. But that's no excuse for 
supporting imperialist intervention. 

Really, Milosevic is not much different from Saddam 
Hussein. His espousal of bourgeois nationalism is no reason for 
anyone to fall on all fours and allow U.S. imperialism to run 
roughshod over the country. It reduces itself again to the U.S., 
Britain, and France — notwithstanding their differences — 
attempting to do what they have done in so many oppressed 
countries around the globe. The fact that it is taking place in 
Europe does not change the situation at all. 

It is not inconceivable that Serbia or a coalition of some 
of the republics will reunify on the basis of socialist conceptions. 
In any event, a federation, even on a bourgeois basis, is bound 
to be more progressive and productive, more independent of 
imperialism, than if it is cut up into small principalities with no 
real power in the world community. 

We in the United States tend to think of the oppressed 
nations as mainly those in the economically underdeveloped 
world — Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and most of 
Asia. Of course, the bourgeoisie will turn heaven and earth to 
deny that there is national oppression in the U.S. From kinder- 



104 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



garten on, they drum it into the heads of everyone that this is 
"one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." But also 
not well publicized is the fact that national oppression exists in 
Europe, too. 

Just saying that one nationality in the Balkans is more 
developed industrially than another blurs the relationship of op- 
pressor to oppressed. For instance, Slovenia may be more de- 
veloped with a higher standard of living, but once it is involved 
in an internecine war and becomes completely dependent on im- 
perialism, it may well find itself in a position of subordination 
and potentially of oppression. 

The tendency in the capitalist press is to obliterate the 
relationship between oppressor and oppressed and present the 
internecine struggle as a purely Balkan affair between the na- 
tionalities. Overlooked entirely is that for a period of time there 
existed a federation that not only increased the standard of liv- 
ing but was able on its own to play a more or less important 
role, even on the international arena. 

Under present conditions, particularly if the war contin- 
ues, all the nationalities risk being reduced to pawns of the im- 
perialist powers. It may be true that the Yugoslav regime can 
hold out for a considerable period against imperialist sanctions, 
but even should it come out victorious, it will have been drained 
of much of its life blood and material resources, assuming it is 
able to overcome overt and covert imperialist domination. 

Bourgeois radicals tend to neglect the class essence of 
the struggle in Yugoslavia. No matter how carefully they may 
try to analyze the relations among the nationalities, if they leave 
out the relation between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, 
between the national bourgeoisie and the imperialist banks and 
industrialists, they are left completely at the mercy of monopoly 
capitalism. 

PROLETARIAT IS LEADERLESS 

Of course, the mast important aspect of the situation in Yugo- 
slavia is the position of the proletariat itself The proletariat at 



SAM MARCY I 05 



the present time is leaderless, the party having abandoned its 
vanguard role as leader in the struggle for socialist construction. 
Only the proletariat can play a consistent internationalist role. 
The bourgeoisie, on the other hand, by virtue of its overriding 
interest in overturning socialist and state property and promot- 
ing private property, not only sharpens its class relations with 
the proletariat but promotes and stimulates antagonisms among 
the nationalities. 

No nation in modem times is free from class rule. Every 
state rules in the interests of either the workers or the bour- 
geoisie. The mere fact it is small or exploited by an imperialist 
power may obscure that fact but does not invalidate it. This 
must be borne in mind in approaching the national question. 
One can easily get lost in the struggle for nationality, for free- 
dom from oppression, and forget the existence of an exploiting 
class within the nation. 

In the epoch of the bourgeoisie, a nation is merely an 
instrument of domination by the propertied and exploiting class. 
Of course, the struggle against the imperialist oppressor must be 
led by a proletarian vanguard to be effective, and the duty of the 
vanguard is to mobilize all the progressive elements in society 
on a democratic and anti-imperialist basis. An excellent example 
of this was the Yugoslav struggle for liberation. 

The current Yugoslav regime is in large measure a 
product of the recent events in the Soviet Union, beginning with 
the Gorbachev administration. His reactionary program accel- 
erated all the social antagonisms in Yugoslavia, as elsewhere in 
Eastern Europe. Certainly, the sweeping bourgeois restoration- 
ist measures taken by the new regimes in the East, and particu- 
larly the swallowing up of the German Democratic Republic, 
could not but have a detrimental effect on class and socialist 
consciousness in Yugoslavia. The leadership, such as it was, 
panicked under the impact of these events. They not only 
changed the name of the party, they began to compete with each 
other over who would go further in bourgeois economic re- 
forms. 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



The monolithic imperialist media have never had such a 
clear field in which to lie and deceive the masses, now that they 
are no longer restrained by the existence of a socialist camp. 
The absence of a strong and vigorous working class press also 
facilitates the task of the bourgeoisie. They are riding high. But 
then comes one of those elemental and spontaneous risings, as 
happened around the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles, 
which demonstrate the fragility of bourgeois rule over the 
working class and the oppressed masses. 

Truth crushed to earth will rise again, and, with it, so 
will the working class. 

' Washington Post, 31 May 1992. 
^ Ibid. 

' Financial Times, 2 June 1992. 

"* Bhtannica Book of the Year 1992 (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 
Inc., 1992). 
' Ibid. 

* Financial Times, 9 September 1991. 

' Cable News Network Prime News, 29 May 1992; the Croatian president 
spoke in English. 

* New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York, 1 975). 
^New York Times, 13 July 1987. 

'° A^ew York Times, 10 July 1991. 
" Financial Times, 2 June 1992. 



6 The role of sanctions 
in the destruction 
of Yugoslavia 

Richard Becker 

"The one who chooses this economic, peaceful, quiet, lethal 
remedy will not have to resort to force. It is not such a painful 
remedy. It doesn 't take a single human life outside the country 
exposed to boycott, but instead subjects that country to a pres- 
sure that, in my view, no modern nation can withstand. " 
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, speaking on economic sanc- 
tions in Versailles, France, 1919 

In 1990, the Yugoslav republic of Serbia had a gross 
domestic product of about $24 billion. The per capita income 
was over $3,000, and every person was guaranteed the right to 
housing, education, quality health care, a job or income, a one- 
month paid annual vacation, and other benefits. Three years 
later, Serbia's gross domestic product had dropped to under 
$10 billion and per capita income was $700. People were dying 
from the lack of common medicines and were being operated on 
without anesthesia. 

What brought about this catastrophe? In its relative 
magnitude it far exceeded the impact of the 1929-33 depression 
in the United States. But unlike the economic crisis of the 
1930s — a product of the normal, unconscious functioning of the 



108 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



capitalist business cycle — Yugoslavia's destruction was planned 
and created with full deliberation. The planning took place not 
inside the country but in the capitals of the "great" powers — 
Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, and, above all, Washington. 

Yugoslavia's economy was demolished by sanctions. 
Sanctions is a word with a deceptively mild ring to it. But the 
sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on 
Yugoslavia, today a country of ten million people, cut off the 
country's economic lifeblood. Even in mid- 1997, twenty months 
after some of the harshest sanctions were lifted, it has not really 
begun to recover. 

In 1991-92, Yugoslavia, a socialist federation of six re- 
publics and two autonomous regions that had existed since 
1945, disintegrated in a horrific civil war. There were internal 
factors leading to the breakup, but the decisive role was played 
by the intervention of outside powers. By mid- 1 992, the Federal 
Republic of Yugoslavia was reduced to Serbia and Montenegro. 
Western-backed governments in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia 
had declared their independence, and Macedonia soon would do 
likewise. 

In the early stages of the breakup of Yugoslavia, Ger- 
many and Austria encouraged and gave military support to the 
secessionist governments in Slovenia and Croatia. The German 
government, emboldened by its recent swallowing up of East 
Germany, was looking to extend its empire along familiar lines. 
Slovenia, Croatia, and, in fact, all of Yugoslavia had been con- 
quered by Nazi Germany a half century earlier.' But it wasn't 
just Germany. The U.S., France, Italy, Britain, and Austria were 
all contending for influence over, and control of, pieces of the 
former federation and the other Balkan and East European 
states. The target of hostility of all these outside powers was the 
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Serbian forces living 
outside the now-shrunken borders of Yugoslavia. 

The attack on the FRY was justified by a media cam- 
paign labeling "the Serbs" as war criminals and violators of hu- 
man rights. There were undoubtedly war crimes, crimes against 



RICHARD BECKER I 09 



humanity, and violations of human rights committed in the civil 
war by Serbs, and also by Croatians and Muslims. It was a war 
fought on the basis of nationality against nationality. 

The outside powers who wanted to break up the old 
Yugoslav federation fanned the flames of nationalism and se- 
cession, knowing full well what a civil war fought on this basis 
would mean. These same powers have themselves committed 
crimes against humanity all over the world, for which they have 
yet to answer — in Vietnam, the Congo, Algeria, Ireland, Gua- 
temala, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the slave trade, the genocide 
of indigenous peoples in the Americas — the list is long indeed. 
So, when the governments responsible for the historic and con- 
temporary oppression of so much of humanity invoke "human 
rights" as justification for punishing Yugoslavia (or any country, 
for that matter), they should be challenged, especially by pro- 
gressives. The role of sanctions is an important issue for the 
anti-war and anti-intervention movement, particularly because 
they are increasingly being used by the U.S. government against 
developing countries. This chapter will attempt to show how, 
under the banner of protecting human rights, sanctions were 
used as a key weapon in destroying Yugoslavia, promoting civil 
war, and inflicting great suffering on the people in Yugoslavia 
and throughout the region. 

U.S. POSITION IN 1989-90 

From the early 1950s, U.S. relations with Yugoslavia had been 
of a different character than those with the other eastern Euro- 
pean countries. Most of eastern Europe was freed from Nazi 
domination in World War II by the Soviet Red Army. In Yugo- 
slavia, however, a communist-led national liberation movement, 
AVNOJ, headed by Josip Broz (Tito), defeated the Nazis and 
their local puppet governments. After the war, the AVNOJ took 
power and began to re-create Yugoslavia as a socialist society. 
Great emphasis was put on guaranteeing equality among all the 
peoples of this multinational state, including Slovenes, Croats, 



I 10 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Hungarians, Macedonians, 
Montenegrins, and others. 

A series of disputes between the Soviet Union and 
Yugoslavia led to the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the socialist 
bloc in 1948. In the years that followed, the Yugoslav leader- 
ship, while maintaining the socialist core of its economy, en- 
tered into commercial, financial, and military relationships with 
the U.S. and other Western powers. Yugoslavia made economic 
concessions that allowed a level of private enterprise. The 
country became indebted to international banks in the 1960s and 
1970s, causing much economic dislocation in the 1980s. 

U.S. support for maintaining Yugoslavia's territorial in- 
tegrity during this period was primarily for geopolitical reasons: 
Yugoslavia was seen as a buffer against the Soviet Union. With 
the collapse of the socialist governments in Eastern Europe and 
the weakening of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Yugosla- 
via's strategic importance for the U.S. was dramatically re- 
duced. Nevertheless, the U.S. diplomatic position of supporting 
Yugoslavia's territorial unity officially continued from 1989 to 
mid- 1991, although now for a very different reason. The U.S. 
ally and rival, the newly reunified Germany, was on the move in 
Eastern Europe. 

The German government was, during the period of 
1989-91, an open promoter of breaking up the Yugoslav fed- 
eration, confident that the richest republics, Croatia and Slove- 
nia, would be swept into Germany's rapidly expanding sphere of 
influence. While the Bush administration gave diplomatic sup- 
port to Yugoslavia's territorial integrity at that time, it simulta- 
neously sought to destroy the federation's socialist economic 
base. The U.S. aim was to become the dominant power in all of 
a capitalist Yugoslavia. There were strong reasons to think this 
could soon be a reality. 

In 1989, Eastern European socialist governments from 
Poland to Bulgaria had fallen. The Gorbachev leadership in the 
USSR, in addition to encouraging the collapse of its Warsaw 
Pact allies, was tarrying out policies which had the effect of 



RICHARD BECKER I I I 



chaotically dismantling the Soviet economy. And in Yugoslavia 
itself, then-Prime Minister Ante Markovic was "known to favor 
market-oriented reforms."^ Markovic was described as "Wash- 
ington's best ally in Yugoslavia."^ 

Markovic launched a program of privatizing or shutting 
down state industry, cutting back on social programs and sub- 
sidies, and freezing wages. The impact was quick and severe. 
According to a Yugoslav government report, the standard of 
living declined 18.1 percent between January and October 1990, 
while industrial production fell 10.4 percent, retail prices dou- 
bled, and sales dropped 23.8 percent. Nearly eight hundred en- 
terprises, employing half-a-million workers, went bankrupt.* 

The sharp economic decline not only raised unemploy- 
ment to 20 percent, it also heightened tensions among the 
country's republics. This was no surprise to the leadership. 
Markovic himself, on a state visit to Washington in late 1 989 to 
get support for his program, had told President Bush that rising 
tension among nationalities would be a consequence of his aus- 
terity/privatization plan.^ In the midst of this economic crisis, 
Markovic announced plans in June 1990 for further cuts in gov- 
ernment spending. But in October, to the dismay of the U.S., 
the reforms were hahed and Markovic was later ousted as prime 
minister. Much damage had already been done to the Yugoslav 
economy. 

THREAT OF SANCTIONS; 

SECESSION OF SLOVENIA AND CROATIA 

On November 5, 1990, the U.S. House and Senate passed For- 
eign Operations Appropriation Law 101-513, calling for the 
cut-off of aid and credits to Yugoslavia within six months.^ 
Three weeks later, the CIA leaked a report to the media predict- 
ing that Yugoslavia would disintegrate in civil war, possibly 
within the next year.' 

On June 25, 1991, the recently elected right-wing gov- 
ernments in Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence 
from Yugoslavia. Both did so in violation of the federation's 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



constitution, which contained a specific secession procedure 
that all republics were bound to follow. The Yugoslav National 
Army (JNA) deployed units in both republics to prevent the ille- 
gal secession. The first fighting broke out in Slovenia, when 
Slovenian secessionist militia units seized the country's posts on 
the international borders with Austria, Italy, and Hungary. 

The new regimes in Slovenia and Croatia had been em- 
boldened to secede by the support they received fi-om outside 
powers. Immediately after secession and the outbreak of fight- 
ing, the European Community (EC — now known as the Euro- 
pean Union or EU), made up of twelve western European 
states, intervened. With Germany taking the lead, the EC 
threatened harsh economic reprisals against Yugoslavia if the 
federation's government defended its territory by military 
means. The EC would cut off $ 1 billion in scheduled aid and, 
more ominously, all economic relations if Yugoslavia did not 
accept mediation for a "peaceful solution."' Sixty percent of all 
Yugoslav trade was with EC countries.' 

The EC plan called for: 1) Slovenia and Croatia to sus- 
pend their independence for three months; 2) the JNA units to 
withdraw to their barracks; and 3) the EC foreign ministers to 
mediate an agreement. This plan looked even-handed on the 
surface, but it wasn't. While the Yugoslav federal army was 
prevented from defending its own borders, Slovenia and Croatia 
were given three months' breathing space to build up their 
armed forces. Military supplies poured into both republics, pri- 
marily fi-om Germany, which had been arming both even before 
their independence declarations.'" 

Author Sean Gervasi posed this question regarding the 
EC plan: "How would President Lincoln have treated a similar 
foreign intervention in the U.S. Civil War?"" 

Immediately after the EC agreement, the U.S. on July 
11, 1991, implemented its law suspending aid and credits that 
had been passed the previous November. This plus the threat 
of the EC sanctions was the key factor in the initial breakup of 
the socialist fedemtion. There is little doubt that the Yugoslav 



RICHARD BECKER I I 3 



leadership and army would have otherwise fought to preserve 
the country's unity. 

The economy was further devastated by the breakup it- 
self. Yugoslavia was one integrated economy. Now its network 
of interlocking plants, raw materials supplies, and distribution 
was torn apart virtually overnight.'^ 

Yugoslavia's reprieve from the threatened EC sanctions 
was to be short-lived. When the three-month waiting period 
ended in October 1991, Slovenia and Croatia formally declared 
their independence. Heavy fighting continued between the 
newly formed Croatian army and its paramilitary allies on one 
side, and Serbian militias and elements of the JNA on the other. 

Serbs numbered six hundred thousand in a Croatian 
population of 4.3 million, with most living in the Krajina and 
other concentrated areas. Most Serbs were vehemently opposed 
to living under Croatian control, for reasons that dated back to 
World War II. When the Nazi army conquered Yugoslavia in 
1941, it established, with its local Ustasha party allies, a puppet 
Croatian state. During its three-year existence, Croatian fascists 
slaughtered six hundred thousand to over a million Serbs — the 
numbers are still disputed among Serbs themselves — and one 
hundred thousand Jews and Romani people. 

The new Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, expressed 
his admiration for the Ustasha government and denied that it 
had carried out genocide. The old Ustasha regime's checker- 
board flag became the banner of the new Croatia.''' A racist 
campaign was launched in the Croatian mass media, depicting 
Serbs as sub-humans. Tudjman repeatedly called for German 
and U.S. intervention in Yugoslavia. On May 29, 1992, CNN 
Prime News reported that Tudjman, speaking in English, ap- 
pealed for the U.S. Sixth Fleet to come to the Croatian port of 
Dubrovnik. 

To understand the Serbian response to Croatian inde- 
pendence under Tudjman's leadership, consider what the reac- 
tion here would be if part of the U. S. seceded under an avow- 



114 NATO I N THE BALKANS 



edly white racist government, raised the Confederate flag, and 
adopted "Dixie" as its national anthem. 

THE FIRST ROUND OF SANCTIONS 

The EC and the U.S. moved quickly to support Croatia. On 
November 8, 1991, EC foreign ministers attending a NATO 
summit meeting declared broad economic sanctions against 
Yugoslavia, including suspension of a 1980 trade and coopera- 
tion agreement. The EC also banned the import of Yugoslav 
textiles, and said it would go to the UN to seek an oil embargo 
against the country.'' The next day. President Bush announced 
that the U.S. would implement similar sanctions. The New York 
Times said that while the "measures referred broadly to Yugo- 
slavia, European officials said they were aimed at Serbia and 
Yugoslavia's Serbian-led army."'^ The sanctions hit hard at the 
weakened Yugoslav economy. 

In January 1 992, the EC recognized the independence of 
Slovenia and Croatia. This recognition gave impetus, not acci- 
dentally, to secessionist forces in the republics of Macedonia 
and Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

The newly-elected president of Bosnia was Alija Izetbe- 
govic, whose party had won in an election boycotted by most of 
the Serbian population of the republic. In Bosnia, no single eth- 
nic group has a majority. The largest groups are Muslims* (44 
percent), Serbs (31 percent), and Croats (17 percent). Many 
people, regardless of ethnic or religious background, regarded 
themselves as Yugoslavs. 

Earlier in his career, Izetbegovic had been a very mar- 
ginal figure. He was jailed in the early 1 980s for inciting racial 
hatred. For decades, he had been an advocate of making Bosnia 
an Islamic religious republic, despite the fact that Muslims were 
a minority of the population.'' The vast majority of Bosnian 
Muslims, by all accounts, had no interest in living in an Islamic 
fundamentalist state and even less in imposing one on others. 



" The Yugoslav Constitution of 1974 defined Muslims as an ethnic group. 



RICHARD RECKER I I 5 



Nor was Izetbegovic the most popular political figure among 
Bosnian Muslims, much less the population as a whole, when he 
maneuvered his way into the presidency in 1991. But he had 
crucial support from outside — particularly from the U.S. — 
which enabled him to gain power." 

Of all the Yugoslav republics, Bosnia had the most di- 
verse and intermingled population. There was no way lines 
could be drawn on a map in a completely equitable way for all 
nationalities. It was for this reason that a civil war in Bosnia — 
fought out on the basis of nationality against nationality — was 
to prove the bloodiest and most tragic of Yugoslavia's conflicts. 

While the Serbian leadership wanted to keep Yugoslavia 
together as a federation, the actions of Serbian president Slobo- 
dan Milosevic intensified the division along nationalist lines. As 
a leader of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Milosevic 
broke with the tradition of emphasizing Yugoslavian solidarity. 
Instead, he conducted the struggle by appealing to Serbian na- 
tionalism. This precluded appealing to the workers of other na- 
tionalities who also opposed the breakup of the federation.'' 

That the breakup of Yugoslavia would ignite a devastat- 
ing civil war was well-known to the outside powers who were 
most involved in promoting the country's dismemberment. 
David Owen, the former British cabinet minister, together with 
Cyrus Vance of the U.S., authored the failed Vance-Owen 
peace plan for Bosnia. In his book Balkan Odyssey, Owen re- 
prints part of a memo issued by the Dutch government on July 
13, 1991, just after Slovenia and Croatia declared independ- 
ence. The Netherlands was then holding the rotating position of 
president of the EC. The document attempted to summarize the 
position of the EC as a whole: 

1 . We seem to agree that it is not possible for Yugo- 
slavia to continue to exist with the present constitu- 
tional structure intact. 

2. It is equally difficult to imagine that Yugoslavia 
could peacefully dissolve into six independent repub- 



116 NATO I N THE BALKANS 



lies within their present borders [author's em- 
phasis]. 

And further: 

This example [Bosnia with its diverse population] 
shows why unilateral declarations of independence of 
individual republics cannot solve Yugoslavia's prob- 
lems. 

It is also important to note, as Owen himself does, that 
the borders of the Yugoslav republics were never meant to be 
international borders. 

The socialist government led by Tito went to great 
lengths to do justice to the smaller nationalities when the repub- 
lican borders were drawn in 194S. This resulted in substantial 
numbers of some nationalities, particularly Serbs and to a lesser 
degree Croats, ending up in republics outside those where they 
were a majority. As long as there was one federal government 
with a strong policy of equal rights for all nationalities, commit- 
ted to actively promoting class rather than national solidarity, 
this was not such a big problem. But all that changed in 
1991-92. 

Despite the knowledge that Yugoslavia could not 
"peacefully dissolve into six independent republics within their 
present borders," and that "unilateral declarations of independ- 
ence cannot solve Yugoslavia's borders," the key outside pow- 
ers proceeded to encourage exactly those policies. And the 
U.S., exerting its position as the sole superpower, was increas- 
ingly becoming the dominant outside force. 

Intense negotiations were held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 
March 18-19, 1992, to prevent civil war in Bosnia. An agree- 
ment was reached "to partition the republic along ethnic lines 
with local communities having broad autonomy."^' Izetbegovic 
signed this agreement, known as the Cutileiro plan, but almost 
immediately reversed himself and rejected it after the U.S. said 
it was prepared to recognize Bosnia as an independent coun- 
try. '^^ On March«22, the civil war widened to Bosnia. On April 
6, the U.S. and the EC recognized the Izetbegovic government 



RICHARD RECKER I I 7 



as the legitimate government of Bosnia. This step had the effect 
of pouring gasoline on an already roaring fire.^^ A brutal, multi- 
sided civil war was underway and would last for more than 
three years. 

THE U.S. /UN BLOCKADE 

The U.S. moved to assert its domination in the struggle and the 
Balkans region as a whole. On May 30, 1992, the UN Security 
Council voted "to follow the Bush administration's lead and im- 
pose tough economic sanctions on the Yugoslav government."^* 
In Executive Order 12808, issued the same day. Bush declared 
a national state of emergency, saying: "The grave events in 
Serbia and Montenegro constitute an unusual and extraordinary 
threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of 
the United States." How a small and embattled country was able 
to threaten, from a distance of four thousand miles, the world's 
only superpower was never explained by the president. Nor was 
the meaning of "grave events," since there was no war taking 
place within the borders of the shrunken Yugoslav federation.^' 
UN Resolution 757 authorized: 

• An international ban on all exports to, and imports 
from, Yugoslavia by any country. This specifically included an 
oil embargo. Yugoslavia produces only about 20 percent of its 
oil needs. 

• An international ban on all foreign investment and 
commercial contacts with Yugoslavia. 

• A freeze by all countries of Yugoslav assets. 

• Suspension of all scientific, technical, and cultural ex- 
changes. 

• A ban on civilian air travel in or out of Yugoslavia. 

• A ban on Yugoslav participation in international sports 

events. 

On September 22, 1992, Yugoslavia became the first 
country to be expelled from the General Assembly. In May, 
Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia had been admitted to the interna- 
tional body.^^ On November 16, the UN Security Council voted 



I 18 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



to institute a total naval blockade of the country, including the 
stopping of all ships approaching Yugoslavia on the Danube 
River as well as in the Adriatic Sea. On December 15, Yugo- 
slavia was expelled from the International Monetary Fund. 

Taken together, these measures represented one of the 
most comprehensive attempts to isolate an entire country and 
destroy its economy. The only comparable international sanc- 
tions were those imposed on Iraq in 1990, which served as a 
model for the quarantining of Yugoslavia. At U.S. insistence, 
the Iraq sanctions remain in place as of this writing, and have 
taken the lives of an estimated 1 . 5 million Iraqis, seven hundred 
thousand of them children under the age of five." By compari- 
son, during the long decades of apartheid rule the U.S. and 
Britain never allowed a mandatory trade embargo or naval 
blockade to be imposed on the South African fascist regime. 
While South Africa was suspended for a time, it was never ex- 
pelled from the United Nations. 

The popular justification for imposing such extremely 
punitive measures was that Yugoslavia supported the Bosnian 
Serbs, who were accused of human rights violations in Bosnia's 
civil war. An incident on May 27, 1992, three days before the 
UN vote, in the embattled Bosnian capital of Sarajevo served to 
galvanize international public opinion for sanctions. 

An explosion, said at the time to have been a mortar 
shell fired from Serbian positions, killed fourteen people waiting 
in a food line and wounded over one hundred. Extensive media 
coverage of this atrocity raised worldwide anger against "the 
Serbs" to a fever pitch. It was only several weeks later that an 
investigation showed the impossibility of a mortar shell causing 
such an explosion, and raised serious questions about what the 
real cause had been.^^ By then, Yugoslavia, whose connection 
to the May 27 Sarajevo explosion had never been more than 
guilt by association, was under embargo. 



RICHARD &ECKER I I 9 



IMPACT OF SANCTIONS 

If sanctions were really intended as a cure for human rights 
abuses, the treatment was to prove more deadly than the dis- 
ease. The impact of UN Resolution 757 did not take long to be 
felt. The Yugoslav economy was already reeling from privatiza- 
tion, austerity, and the earlier EC and U.S. sanctions. 

On June 26, 1992, less than a month after Resolution 
757 was passed, the New York Times reported in a front-page 
story that a 5,000-dinar (Yugoslav currency) note had dropped 
in value from $550 U.S. to $2.70. Shortages of nearly all goods 
drove prices up and the value of the dinar down on a daily ba- 
sis.^' Inflation was soon 10 percent per day. A year later, ac- 
cording to the Economist magazine, inflation in Yugoslavia was 
363 quadrillion (363,000,000,000,000,000 percent) annually.^" 

By August 1992, most of the big factories had to shut 
down due to lack of raw materials and fuel. Hundreds of thou- 
sands of workers were sent home with reduced or no wages. 
One such factory was the Kluz textile plant in Belgrade, which 
employed six thousand workers. It completely shut down. Dra- 
goslav Kojic, the factory's senior manager, described the im- 
pact: "I don't like the embargo because it's affecting my people, 
who are poor. We're talking about six thousand women, about 
half of them without husbands, who are raising more than 
eleven thousand kids. Their lives have become very difficult, 
and I hate to think what might happen if this keeps on much 
longer."^' 

This was after just three months. The harshest sanctions 
were to last three more years, and the downward spiral contin- 
ued. The Economist magazine reported on Feb. 12, 1994, that 
by then at least 60 percent of the workers were unemployed, 
industry was running at 20-30 percent of capacity, and 40 per- 
cent of all activity was taking place in the illegal, underground 
economy.^^ 



120 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



HEALTH CARE 

The Yugoslav health care system, once considered the best in 
southern Europe, was quickly decimated" While food and 
medicine were supposedly exempt from the sanctions, all pur- 
chases had to be licensed by the Security Council, a long, bu- 
reaucratic, and often unsuccessful process. In any case, the gov- 
ernment could no longer afford to buy medicines and medical 
supplies on the world market because of the economic block- 
ade. Antibiotics, anti-cancer medicines, anesthesia, and pain- 
killers were soon unavailable through the state health care sys- 
tem. X-ray machines stopped working. There were no spare 
parts for equipment. Only emergency surgery could be per- 
formed. Vaccines for measles, polio, and other contagious dis- 
eases ran out. By the spring of 1993, the sanctions-induced 
health care crisis deepened. Ninety percent of the country's do- 
mestic drug production had come to a halt due to lack of raw 
materials. The incidence of diseases like hepatitis and tubercu- 
losis rose sharply.^* 

On April 25-26, 1993, the UN and the U.S. further 
tightened sanctions against Yugoslavia. An InterPress Service 
(IPS) report dated May 19, 1993, described the situation of 
parents whose six-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. 
To save his life, they had to buy medicines formerly available 
free or at a nominal cost. Due to the sanctions, these medicines 
were no longer available from the state health service. The first 
of eight necessary treatments cost $812, more than twice their 
combined monthly salaries, due to the runaway inflation.^' 
Similar stories were repeated thousands of times. Chronically ill 
patients and those with easily treatable diseases died for lack of 
simple medicines. Hospitals were forced to give unscreened 
blood transfusions and perform surgery with insufficient disin- 
fectants and antibiotics, causing a rise in fatal post-operative 
infections. Tranquilizers and other medications for psychiatric 
patients ran out, leading to sharp increases in self-inflicted vio- 
lence and attacks on others in mental institutions. Doctors re- 
ported being "compelled to resort to nineteenth-century meth- 



RICHARD RECKER I 2 I 



ods, SO the patients are being tied to beds and locked up" to 
prevent violent behavior.'^ 

In the summer of 1993, it was reported that "people are 
dying from the most benign diseases and epidemics have ap- 
peared — measles, for example. Mortality from easily curable 
diseases increased five times due to a shortage of medicine."^' 
By October 1993, the average daily intake of calories had fallen 
by 28 percent compared to 1990, while the number of infectious 
disease fatalities rose 37 percent. Fifteen percent of the popula- 
tion — 1.5 million people — was classified as undernourished. 
The death rate in the capital, Belgrade, increased from 790 to 
977 per 100,000 in the same period. 

AIM OF SANCTIONS 

When confronted about the devastating effects of the sanctions 
on the Yugoslav health care system, Hannu Vuroi, head of the 
UN World Heahh Organization office in Belgrade, responded 
that "sanctions are designed to hurt."^* No truer words could be 
spoken. Economic sanctions are intended to cause maximum 
suffering among a country's people. At the same time, sanctions 
of the broad and inclusive type imposed on Yugoslavia and Iraq 
are designed to choke the target country's economy until its 
government surrenders or is overthrown. 

When sanctions are used, civilian casuahies are not 
"collateral damage," the deceptive phrase used by the Pentagon 
in the Gulf War. Civilians and the civilian economy are the pri- 
mary target of sanctions. Under international law, deliberately 
targeting civilians and destroying a country's means of subsis- 
tence are crimes against humanity. So, too, is collective pun- 
ishment a violation of international law. If, as Yugoslav Assis- 
tant Heahh Minister Ljiljana Stojanovic pointed out, some Serbs 
committed war crimes in Bosnia, that would not justify punish- 
ing all Serbian people.^' 

The "collateral damage" from sanctions is the economic 
punishment inflicted on the target country's neighbors. In May 
1995, seven countries — Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Moldava, 



122 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Romania — petitioned the UN Security 
Council for compensation. The seven stated that they had suf- 
fered billions of dollars in losses to their economies as a result 
of the blockade of Yugoslavia.'"' But the rich and powerful 
countries that rule the Security Council and imposed the sanc- 
tions have refused to compensate the poorer nations suffering 
this "collateral damage." Nor do they have to. Article 50, 
Chapter VII of the UN Charter stipulates: 

If preventive or enforcement measures against any 
state are taken by the Security Council, any other 
state which finds itself confronted with special 
economic problems arising from the carrying out of 
those measures, shall have the right to consult the Se- 
curity Council with regard to a solution to those 
problems. 

All countries are compelled, under the UN Charter, to 
implement sanctions and obey the boycott of a targeted state. 
But, if it is a poor or developing country which is suffering the 
economic damage (as is almost always the case), they have only 
"the right to consult" when it comes to compensation for their 
losses. (A similar situation, with similar results, followed the 
Gulf War, when twenty-one developing nations that had suf- 
fered major losses due to the sanctions against Iraq sought 
compensation.) 

A senior U.S. official who chose to remain anonymous 
bragged to Newsweek magazine in December 1993: "From an 
economic perspective, the Serbian sanctions have been the most 
successful in history." At that time, more than 60 percent of the 
country's work force was unemployed, the average monthly 
income had dropped from $500 to $15, and inflation had 
reached 25,000 percent per month.*' 

In September 1994, the UN blockade was extended to 
cover that part — and only that part — of Bosnia under Bosnian 
Serb control. Throughout the civil war there was often fighting 
between Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim forces. In the 
winter of 1 993-^4, the Bosnian city of Mostar was shelled, by 



RICHARD BECKER I 23 



Croatian forces, far more heavily than the capital, Sarajevo. In 
the Bihac region, anti-Izetbegovic Bosnian Muslims were allied 
with Serb forces, and fought both the Izetbegovic-led Muslims 
and right-wing Croatian militias. The war in Bosnia was com- 
plex, multi-sided, and filled with horrors on all sides. Most wars 
are. But economic sanctions were reserved for only one side.*^ 

SANCTIONS PART OF INTEGRATED 
WAR STRATEGY 

As devastating as the sanctions were, they were not sufficient by 
themselves to achieve the objectives of the U.S. and other 
"great powers." First, to be fully effective, sanctions as all- 
encompassing as those imposed on Yugoslavia require military 
enforcement, as did the sanctions on Iraq. Beginning with the 
NATO (really U.S.) naval blockade in November 1992, all ships 
sailing toward Yugoslavia in the Adriatic Sea and on the Da- 
nube River were halted — 74,000 altogether. ''^ A "no-fly zone" 
was declared over Bosnia. The ships and planes that enforced 
the blockade and "no-fly zone" came from the U.S. Sixth Fleet 
and bases in Italy. The next month. President Bush threatened 
Yugoslavia that the U.S. would use military force if the Yugo- 
slav civil war were extended to Serbia's Kosovo province.** 
This was blatant interference in Serbia's internal affairs. 

In 1993, "retired" U.S. military officers began retraining 
the Croatian army, which also began receiving Pentagon- 
supplied arms.*^ In return, the U.S. was given bases on Croatian 
islands in the Adriatic. This relationship developed into a 
"strategic partnership."*^ The U.S. was displacing Germany as 
the leading outside power in Croatia. 

The U.S. was, and is, the main supporter, military and 
otherwise, of the Izetbegovic government in Bosnia, whose 
foreign minister, Mohammed Sacirbey, is a U.S. citizen. In 
1993-95, the U.S., through NATO, increasingly used air power 
against Bosnian and Croatian Serbs as well as against anti- 
Izetbegovic Muslim forces (usually referred to as "renegade 



124 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Muslims" in the U.S. media). The Pentagon sent in special 
forces to train the Bosnian military. 

In 1994, the U.S. forced a shaky alliance between Croa- 
tian and Izetbegovic forces in Bosnia. Both, despite their mu- 
tual antagonism and fierce fighting in the civil war, were becom- 
ing increasingly dependent on the U.S. 

The newly retrained and re-armed Croatian military, op- 
erating under U.S. direction, launched a massive offensive in the 
summer of 1995 against the Krajina region of Croatia. The Kra- 
jina had been a predominantly Serbian area for hundreds of 
years. Now, more than two hundred thousand Krajina Serbs 
were driven out in a matter of weeks. This was "ethnic cleans- 
ing" on a scale unprecedented in the four-year civil war, and 
unseen in Europe since World War II. 

Allegations of "ethnic cleansing" had served to justify 
imposing sanctions against Serbia. But no cries for sanctions 
against Croatia now emanated from the White House or Con- 
gress. On the contrary, there were many expressions of satisfac- 
tion and self-congratulation in Washington in response to the 
massive uprooting of the Krajina Serbs.*' 

In August and September 1995, NATO launched a 
massive air war against positions of the Bosnian Serbs, who, for 
the first time in the war, suffered major defeats and territorial 
losses. 

The combination of economic blockade and massive 
military intervention led to the Dayton Accords of 1995. The 
U.S. made the Yugoslav government a proverbial "offer it could 
not refuse." The U.S. proposal was basically this: accept our 
terms, and bring pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to accept them, 
or face continued economic strangulation and an expanded war. 
If the Milosevic government agreed, it was told, the economic 
blockade would be lifted. 

The Dayton Accords resuhed in a "peace" which re- 
mains precarious and unstable. But its principal objective, the 
establishment of U.S. domination in much of the former Yugo- 
slavia, was achieved. As part of the agreement, sixty thousand 



RICHARD RECKER I 25 



NATO troops, twenty thousand of them U.S. soldiers, were 
sent into Bosnia under U.S. command. 

A giant new NATO base was established in Hungary 
(since approved for membership in the U.S. -controlled military 
alliance) to facilitate the troop deployment in Bosnia. The U.S. 
has also established important new bases in Macedonia and 
northern Albania.^" The Pentagon also undertook a major up- 
grading of the Bosnian military, which is ongoing. 

SANCTIONS AFTER THE DAYTON ACCORDS 

The promise of a return to prosperity along with peace was not 
fulfilled for Yugoslavia. In December 1995, the UN blockade 
was ended and Yugoslavia was once again allowed to engage in 
trade with other countries. Nearly bankrupted and with its 
economy in ruins, however, it had little to sell and no money to 
buy on the world market. Moreover, Yugoslavia's path to re- 
covery faced a major obstacle: An "outer wall" of sanctions re- 
mained in place, preventing the country from gaining interna- 
tional credit, loans, and aid with which to restart its severely 
damaged economy. It could not even recover much of its seized 
overseas assets, which remained frozen. 

On December 28, Presidential Determination 96-7 was 
signed by President Clinton, suspending the sanctions earlier 
enacted by the U.S. However, Yugoslav assets "previously 
blocked remain blocked." The "national emergency" declared in 
Executive Order 12808 and expanded in Executive Order 
12934, it said, "shall continue in effect."" An attached memo- 
randum of justification emphasized that this was only a suspen- 
sion and stated that "sanctions may again go into effect against 
the Serbs. Accordingly we plan to leave the Sanctions Assis- 
tance Mission infrastructure and monitors in place." And the 
U.S. announced its intention to prevent the lifting of the "outer 
wall" of financial sanctions by international bodies where it had 
very strong influence or veto power. 

Despite the fact that with the Dayton Accords Yugosla- 
via had met the conditions for ending the sanctions, the Clinton 



126 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



administration now began coming up with new demands, as in 
the case of Iraq. For example, Yugoslavia was not allowed to 
rejoin the United Nations. Then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN 
Madeleine Albright said that Yugoslavia would not be re- 
admitted until it solved internal problems in Kosovo province 
and cooperated fully with The Hague war crimes tribunal." The 
reinstatement of full sanctions does not require action by the 
UN Security Council. This power has been turned over to the 
U.S. officer commanding NATO forces in Bosnia." 

Rather than moving toward the lifting of the remaining 
sanctions, the U.S. has threatened several times since December 
1995 to reimpose the entire blockade. In February 1996, U.S. 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher threatened Serbian 
President Milosevic with the renewal of trade sanctions unless 
there was cooperation with the prosecution of "Serbian war 
criminals."^"* In June 1996 Christopher again threatened re- 
sumption of a trade and oil embargo." In December 1996, the 
U.S. threatened to reimpose the sanctions if the government 
suppressed demonstrations then taking place. The main cause of 
discontent, it was widely agreed, was the continued depressed 
state of the economy. A year after the "lifting" of sanctions, the 
Red Cross reported that nearly 30 percent of the population of 
Serbia and Montenegro was living in poverty.'^ 

The U. S. was now using the continuation of sanctions as 
a means of creating popular discontent and the threat of even 
harsher sanctions as a way to control the government's re- 
sponses. Washington's objective was, and is, to achieve eco- 
nomic and political domination in what remains of the Yugoslav 
federation. To do this, the sanctions are being used in an at- 
tempt to finish off the state sector of the economy. 

What Yugoslavia particularly needed after the Dayton 
Accords were credits and loans to restart its big, state-run in- 
dustries, like auto and textiles, which had either been shut down 
or had drastically cut back production. The revival of core in- 
dustry was a necessary step to revive the economy as a whole 



RICHARD BECKER I 27 



while helping to pay for the import of medicines, oil, and other 
raw materials. 

A prime example was the Yugo automobile. Production 
at the big Zastava plant had fallen from two hundred thousand 
to 3,500 cars per year from 1990 to 1995. Obtaining large-scale 
credit to restore production required that Yugoslavia be read- 
mitted to institutions like the International Monetary Fund. 

The IMF said that to be readmitted, Yugoslavia would 
have to repay its presanctions debt — a relatively small $100 mil- 
lion. More importantly, it would also have to adopt a program 
of economic reforms that the IMF approved. The IMF, domi- 
nated by U. S. banks, has forced governments all over the world 
to privatize and deregulate their economies as a condition for 
getting international loans and credit." Thus far, the Yugoslav 
leadership has refused to accept the U.S. demands to "open" the 
economy, privatize state industry, and liquidate the state sector. 
Mirjana Markovic, leader of the largest political organization in 
the country, the Yugoslav United Left, has declared that priva- 
tization violates the socialist constitution. 

And so, the U.S. keeps sanctions against Yugoslavia in 

place. 

SANCTIONS AND THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT 

It is an unfortunate reality that too many anti-war and progres- 
sive activists have viewed sanctions as a supportable alternative 
to war. In fact, sanctions, embargoes, and blockades are forms 
of war, particularly in a world which is ever more economically 
interdependent. Cutting off an entire country from trade and 
other economic relations can be, if maintained over long peri- 
ods, devastating in the extreme. Nor are sanctions an alternative 
to war. Blockade-type sanctions are inevitably enforced by 
military means. 

The countries subjected to sanctions and blockades of 
the type inflicted on Yugoslavia are exclusively developing na- 
tions — Iraq, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Panama, Nicara- 



128 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



gua, Vietnam and others — countries which have attempted to 
take an independent road. 

During the Gulf War, one wing of the anti-war move- 
ment opposed military action, but appealed instead to "let the 
sanctions work." Perhaps this was the result of not understand- 
ing what it meant for sanctions to "work." But today, the con- 
sequences are clear Those who suffer most from this type of 
warfare are the most vulnerable members of any society — the 
very young, the very old, and those who are ill. 

As the International Appeal to End Sanctions, initiated 
by the International Action Center, states: "Economic sanctions 
and blockades are weapons of mass destruction directed at a 
whole people." They must be opposed. 

' Financial Times, 9 September 1991. 
^ Facts on File, 27 January 1989, p. 57. 

^ Misha Glenny, "The Massacre of Yugoslavia," New York Review of 

Books, 30 January 1992. 

" Facts on File, 31 December 1990 

' "Yugoslav Premier Seeks U.S. Aid," New York Times, 14 October 1989. 

^ See Appendix of this book. 

' New York Times, 28 November 1990. 

* Facts on File, 4 July 1991. 

' New York Times, 9 November 1991. 

'° Sean Gervasi, "Germany, U.S. and the Yugoslav Crisis," Covert Action, 
Winter 1992-93. 
' ' Gervasi, op. cit. 

Workers World, 18 January 1996. 

New York Times, 31 August 1996. 

David Owen, Balkan Odyssey (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1995), 
pp. 73-74. Owen is a member of the British House of Lords and co-author, 
with former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, of the failed Vance-Owen 
peace plan. Owen's statements are particularly interesting given his impe- 
rial credentials and strongly anti-Serbian stance. 
" New York Times, 9 November 1991. 
^^New York Times, 10 November 1991. 

" Ahja Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration, translated excerpts available 
from the Balkan Research Centre in "A briefing paper produced for mem- 
bers for the 1992/3 session of the British Parliament," 21 December 1992, 



RICHARD RECKER I 29 



on line; originally printed privately 1970, reprinted Sarajevo, 1990 
(http://suc.suc.org/~kosta/tar/bosna/). 

Owen, op. at., p. 82. 
" Sam Marcy, et al.. Imperialist Intrigue and the Breakup of Yugoslavia 
(New York: World View, 1992), p. 22. 
^° Owen, op. cit., pp. 32-33. 
^' Facts on File, April 1992, p. 252. 
" Workers World, 1 December 1995. 

Owen, op. cit., p. 46. 

New York Times, 3 1 May 1992. 
" Ibid. 

Facts on File, September 1992, p. 716. 
^' The Children Are Dying: Impact of U.S./UN Sanctions on Iraq (New 
York: International Action Center, 1996). 

Cyprus Mail, I August 1993. 
^^New York Times, 26 June 1992. 

^° "363 quadrillion percent inflation," Economist, 9 October 1993. 

New York Times, 3 1 August 1992. 

"The sanctions alternative," Economist, 12 February 1994. 
" Facts on File, 19 November 1992. 

Suzanne Nelson, InterPress Service, 19 May 1993. 

Ibid. 

^ Baltimore Sun, 20 October 1993. 

Timoslav Kresovic, UN Embargo: Serbia and Sanctions — Chronicle of a 
Punishment, http://www.yugoslavia.com/Society_and_Law/Sanctions/, 
Belgrade, 1993. 

" Neues Deutschland, 5 October 1993. 

Nelson, op. cit. 
'°Ibid. 

^' "A price no one can justify," Newsweek, 6 December 1993. 
"Mostar: a glimpse of hell frozen over," Newsweek, 6 December 1993. 
Los Angeles Times, 3 October 1996. 
New York Times, 28 December 1992. 

Ken Silverstein, "Privatizing War," The Nation, 28 July-4 August 1997. 
San Francisco Chronicle, 12 September 1995. 

U.S. Department of State, "Chronology of Balkan Conflict," 6 December 
1995. 
Ibid. 

U.S. Department of State, "Bosnia Fact Sheet: Economic Sanctions 
Against Serbia and Montenegro." Published during the Dayton negotia- 
tions, the fact sheet concludes: "Sanctions have contributed to a significant 
decline in the FRY (Yugoslavia). Industrial production and real incomes 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



are down at least 50 percent since 1 99 1 . As a result, obtaining sanctions 
relief has become a priority for the FRY government." 
^°San Francisco Chronicle, 12 September 1995. 

Workers World, 18 January 1996. 

San Francisco Chronicle, 26 November 1 996. 
" New York Times, 17 July 1996. 

Facts on File, 22 February 1996. 
"Reuters, 3 June 1996. 

Vesna Peric-Zinomjic, InterPress Service, 27 December 1996. 
" New York Times, 9 July 1996. 

San Francisco Chronicle, 26 November 1 996. 
" New York Times, 31 August 1996. 



7 The invasion of 
Serbian Krajina 



Gregory Elich 



In early August 1995, the Croatian invasion of Serbian Krajina 
precipitated the worst refugee crisis of the Yugoslav civil war. 
Within days, more than two hundred thousand Serbs, virtually 
the entire population of Krajina, fled their homes, and 14,000 
Serbian civilians lost their lives. According to a UN official, 
"Almost the only people remaining were the dead and the dy- 
ing." The Clinton administration's support for the invasion was 
an important factor in creating this nightmare. 

The previous month. Secretary of State Warren Christo- 
pher and German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met with 
Croatian diplomat Miomir Zuzul in London. During this meet- 
ing, Christopher gave his approval for Croatian military action 
against Serbs in Bosnia and Krajina. Two days later, the U.S. 
ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, also approved Croatia's 
invasion plan. Stipe Mesic, a prominent Croatian politician, 
stated that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman "received the go- 
ahead from the United States. Tudjman can do only what the 
Americans allow him to do. Krajina is the reward for having ac- 
cepted, under Washington's pressure, the federation between 
Croats and Muslims in Bosnia." Croatian assembly deputy Mate 
Mestrovic also claimed that the "United States gave us the 
green light to do whatever had to be done."* 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



As Croatian troops launched their assault on August 4, 
U.S. NATO aircraft destroyed Serbian radar and anti-aircraft 
defenses. American EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft patrolled 
the air in support of the invasion. Krajina foreign affairs advisor 
Slobodan Jarcevic stated that NATO "completely led and coor- 
dinated the entire Croat offensive by first destroying radar and 
anti-aircraft batteries. What NATO did most for the Croatian 
Army was to jam communications between [Serb] military 
commands. 

Following the elimination of Serbian anti-aircraft de- 
fenses, Croatian planes carried out extensive attacks on Serbian 
towns and positions. The roads were clogged with refugees, and 
Croatian aircraft bombed and strafed refugee columns. Serbian 
refugees passing through the town of Sisak were met by a mob 
of Croatian extremists, who hurled rocks and concrete at them. 
A UN spokesman said, "The windows of almost every vehicle 
were smashed and almost every person was bleeding from being 
hit by some object." Serbian refugees were pulled from their 
vehicles and beaten. As fleeing Serbian civilians poured into 
Bosnia, a Red Cross representative in Banja Luka said, "I've 
never seen anything like it. People are arriving at a terrifying 
rate." Bosnian Muslim troops crossed the border and cut off 
Serbian escape routes. Trapped refugees were massacred as 
they were pounded by Croatian and Muslim artillery. Nearly 
1,700 refugees simply vanished. While Croatian and Muslim 
troops burned Serbian villages. President Clinton expressed his 
understanding for the invasion, and Christopher said events 
"could work to our advantage."' 

The Croatian rampage through the region left a trail of 
devastation. Croatian special police units, operating under the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs, systematically looted abandoned 
Serbian villages. Everything of value — cars, stereos, televisions, 
furniture, farm animals — was plundered, and homes set afire."* A 
confidential European Union report stated that 73 percent of 
Serbian homes were destroyed.^ Troops of the Croatian army 



GREGORY ELICH 133 



also took part, and pro-Nazi graffiti could be seen on the walls 
of several bumt-out Serb buildings * 

Massacres continued for several weeks after the fall of 
Krajina, and UN patrols discovered numerous fresh unmarked 
graves and bodies of murdered civilians.' The European Union 
report states, "Evidence of atrocities, an average of six corpses 
per day, continues to emerge. The corpses, some fresh, some 
decomposed, are mainly of old men. Many have been shot in the 
back of the head or had throats slit, others have been muti- 
lated. Serb lands continue to be torched and looted."* 

Following a visit in the region, a member of the Zagreb 
Helsinki Committee reported, "Virtually all Serb villages had 
been destroyed. In a village near Knin, eleven bodies were 
found; some of them were massacred in such a way that it was 
not easy to see whether the body was male or female."' 

UN spokesman Chris Gunness noted that UN personnel 
continued to discover bodies, many of whom had been decapi- 
tated.'" British journalist Robert Fisk reported the murder of 
elderly Serbs, many of whom were burned alive in their homes. 
He adds, "At Golubic, UN officers have found the decomposing 
remains of five people the head of one of the victims was 
found 150 feet from his body. Another UN team, meanwhile, is 
investigating the killing of a man and a woman in the same area 
after villagers described how the man's ears and nose had been 
mutilated."" 

After the fall of Krajina, Croatian chief of staff General 
Zvonimir Cervenko characterized Serbs as "medieval shepherds, 
troglodytes, destroyers of anything the culture of man has cre- 
ated." During a triumphalist train journey through Croatia and 
Krajina, Tudjman spoke at each railway station. To great ap- 
plause, he announced, "There can be no return to the past, to 
the times when [Serbs] were spreading cancer in the heart of 
Croatia, a cancer that was destroying the Croatian national be- 
ing." He then went on to speak of the "ignominious disappear- 
ance" of the Serbs from Krajina "so it is as if they have never 
lived here. They didn't even have time to take with them 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



their filthy money or their fihhy underwear!" American ambas- 
sador Peter Galbraith dismissed claims that Croatia had engaged 
in "ethnic cleansing," since he defined this term as something 
Serbs do.'^ 

U.S. representatives blocked Russian attempts to pass a 
UN Security Council resolution condemning the invasion. Ac- 
cording to Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic, American 
officials gave advice on the conduct of the operation, and Euro- 
pean and military experts and humanitarian aid workers re- 
ported shipments of U.S. weapons to Croatia over the two 
months preceding the invasion. A French mercenary also wit- 
nessed the arrival of American and German weapons at a Croa- 
fian port, adding, "The best of the Croats' armaments were 
German- and American-made." The U.S., "directly or indi- 
rectly," says French intelligence analyst Pierre Hassner, 
"rearmed the Croats." Analysts at Jane's Information Group say 
that Croatian troops were seen wearing American uniforms and 
carrying U.S. communications equipment.'^ 

The invasion of Krajina was preceded by a thorough 
CIA and DIA analysis of the region. According to Balkan 
specialist Ivo Banac, this "tactical and intelligence support" was 
fiirnished to the Croatian Army at the beginning of its offen- 
sive. 

In November 1994, the United States and Croatia signed 
a military agreement. Immediately afterward, U.S. intelligence 
agents set up an operations center on the Adriatic island of 
Brae, firom which reconnaissance aircraft were launched. Two 
months earlier, the Pentagon contracted Military Professional 
Resources, Inc. (MPRI) to train the Croatian military. Accord- 
ing to a Croatian officer, MPRI advisors "lecture us on tactics 
and big war operations on the level of brigades, which is why 
we needed them for Operation Storm when we took the Kra- 
jina." Croatian sources claim that U.S. satellite intelligence was 
fiirnished to the Croatian military.'^ Following the invasion of 
Krajina, the U.S. rewarded Croatia with an agreement "broad- 
ening existing cooperation" between MPRI and the Croatian 



GREGORY ELICH I 35 



military.'* U.S. advisors assisted in the reorganization of the 
Croatian Army. Referring to this reorganization in an interview 
with the newspaper Vecernji List, Croatian General Tihomir 
Blaskic said, "We are building the foundations of our organiza- 
tion on the traditions of the Croatian home guard" — pro-Nazi 
troops in World War II.'' 

It is worth examining the nature of what one UN official 
terms "America's newest ally." During World War II, Croatia 
was a Nazi puppet state in which the Croatian fascist Ustashe 
murdered as many as one million Serbs, Jews, and Romani 
(Gypsies). Disturbing signs emerged with the election of Franjo 
Tudjman to the Croatian presidency in 1990. Tudjman said, "I 
am glad my wife is neither Serb nor Jew," and wrote that ac- 
counts of the Holocaust were "exaggerated" and "one-sided ."^" 

Much of Tudj man's financial backing was provided by 
Ustasha emigres and several Ustasha war criminals were invited 
to attend the first convention of Tudjman' s political party, the 
Croatian Democratic Union. ^' 

Tudjman presented a medal to a former Ustasha com- 
mander living in Argentina, Ivo Rojnica. After Rojnica was 
quoted as saying, "Everything I did in 1941 I would do again," 
international pressure prevented Tudjman from appointing him 
to the post of ambassador to Argentina. When former Ustasha 
official Vinko Nikolic returned to Croatia, Tudjman appointed 
him to a seat in parliament. Upon former Ustasha officer Mate 
Sarlija's return to Croatia, he was personally welcomed at the 
airport by Defense Minister Gojko Susak, and subsequently 
given the post of general in the Croatian Army.^^ On November 
4, 1996, thirteen former Ustasha officers were presented with 
medals and ranks in the Croatian Army.^' 

Croatia adopted a new currency in 1994, the kuna, the 
same name as that used by the Ustasha state, and the new 
Croatian flag is a near-duplicate of the Ustasha flag. Streets and 
buildings have been renamed for Ustasha official Mile Budak, 
who signed the regime's anti-Semitic laws, and more than three 
thousand anti-fascist monuments have been demolished. In an 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



open letter, the Croatian Jewish community protested the re- 
habilitation of the Ustasha state. In April 1994, the Croatian 
government demanded the removal of all "nonwhite" UN troops 
from its territory, claiming that "only first-world troops" under- 
stood Croatia's "problems. 

On Croatian television in April 1996, Tudjman called for 
the return of the remains of Ante Pavelic, the leader of the 
Croatian pro-Nazi puppet state. "After all, both reconciliation 
and recognition should be granted to those who deserve it," 
Tudjman said, adding, "We should recognize that Pavelic' s 
ideas about the Croatian state were positive," but that Pavelic' s 
only mistake was the murder of a few of his colleagues and na- 
tionalist allies.^' Three months later, Tudjman said of the Serbs 
driven fi-om Croatia: "The fact that 90 percent of them left is 
their own problem. Naturally we are not going to allow 
them all to return." During the same speech, Tudjman referred 
to the pro-Nazi state as "a positive thing."^^ 

During its violent secession from Yugoslavia in 1991, 
Croatia expelled more than three hundred thousand Serbs, and 
Serbs were eliminated from ten towns and 183 villages." In 
1993, Helsinki Watch reported: "Since 1991, the Croatian 
authorities have blown up or razed ten thousand houses, mostly 
of Serbs, but also houses of Croats. In some cases, they dyna- 
mited homes with the families inside." Thousands of Serbs have 
been evicted from their homes. Croatian human-rights activist 
Ivan Zvonimir Cicak says beatings, plundering, and arrests were 
the usual eviction methods.^* 

Tomislav Mercep, until recently the advisor to the Inte- 
rior minister and a member of Parliament, is a death-squad 
leader. Mercep' s death squad murdered 2,S00 Serbs in western 
Slavonia in 1991 and 1992, actions Mercep defends as "heroic 
deeds ''^' Death squad officer Miro Bajramovic's spectacular 
confession revealed details: "Nights were worst for [our prison- 
ers] burning prisoners with a flame, pouring vinegar over 
their wounds, mostly on genitalia and on the eyes. Then there is 
that little inductoi*, field phone, you plug a Serb onto that. 



GREGORY ELICH I 37 



The most painful is to stick little pins under the nails and to 
connect to the three phase current; nothing remains of a man 
but ashes. After all, we knew they would all be killed, so it 
did not matter if we hurt him more today or tomorrow." 

"Mercep knew everything," Bajramovic claimed. "He 
told us several times: 'Tonight you have to clean all these shits.' 
By this he meant all the prisoners should be executed. 

Sadly, the Clinton administration's embrace of Croatia 
follows a history of support for fascists when it suits American 
geopolitical interests: Chile's Augusto Pinochet, Indonesia's 
Suharto, Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner, and a host of others. 
The consequences of this policy for the people affected have 
been devastating. 

' "Weekly: U.S. Gave Zagreb 'Green Light,' " Tcmjug (Belgrade), 26 July 
1995. "In Croatia, U.S. Took Calculated Risk," Stephen Engelberg, New 
York Times News Service, 12 August 1995. "Cleansing the West's Dirty 
War," Joan Phillips, Living Marxism (London), September 1995. "Who 
Has Given the Go-Ahead?," interview with Stipe Mesic, Panorama 
(Milan), 8 August 1995. "The United States Gave Us the Green Light," 
interview with Mate Mestrovic, by Chantal de Rudder, Le Nouvel Obser- 
varei/r (Paris), 10 August 1995. 

^ "International Inaction in Croatia Will Complicate Bosnian War," 
George Jahn, Associated Press, 1 August 1995. "NATO Destroyed Krajina 
Missile Systems," Bosnian Serb News Agency (SRNA) (Belgrade), 6 August 
1995. "Abandoned People Must Flee," interview with Slobodan Jarcevic by 
Cvijeta Arsenic, Oslobodjenje (Sarajevo — Bosnian Serb), 23 August 1995. 
"Cleansing the West's Dirty War," Joan Phillips, op. cit. 
' "Huge Refugee Exodus Runs Into Shelling, Shooting, Air Attacks," 
George Jahn, Associated Press, 8 August 1995. "Croat Planes Shell Refii- 
gees," Tanjug, 8 August 1995. "SRNA Review of Daily News," SRNA, 8 
August 1995. "Cleansing the West's Dirty War," Joan Phillips, op. cit. 
"Refugees Trapped by Croat Shelling," Robert Fox and Tim Judah. Elec- 
tronic Telegraph (London) (Online), 8 August 1995. "Croat Mob Attacks 
Nuns in Fleeing Convoy," Patrick Bishop, Electronic Telegraph, 1 1 
August 1995. "Over 1,000 Serbs Missing in Krajina," Tanjug, 28 January 
1997. "Croat Grip Is Tightened as 100,000 Flee," Tim Butcher, Electronic 
Telegraph, 7 August 1995. 

" "UN Says Croatians Loot, Use Peacekeepers as Shields," Associated 
Press, 6 August 1995. "Helsinki Committee Reports on Krajina Opera- 



138 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



tions," Hartmut Fiedler, Oesterreich Bins Radio Network, 21 August 1995. 
"EU Observers Accuse Croatia of Breaches of Law," Tanjug, 27 October 
1995. "UN: Croatians Systematically Burned Serb Homes," Tanjug, 14 
August 1995. "Croats Slaughter Elderly by the Dozen," Robert Fisk, The 
Independent (London), 10 September 1995. "Croats Plunder Their Way 
through Krajina," Mon Vanderostyne, De Standard (Groox Bijgaarden, The 
Netherlands), 9 August 1995. "UN Says Croats Loot Serb Villages in Kra- 
jina," Agence France-Presse, 17 August 1995. "EU Report Accuses Croa- 
tia of Atrocities Against Rebel Serbs," Julian Borger, The Guardian 
(Manchester), 30 September 1995. "Krajina 'Torched State,' " SRNA, 21 
August 1995. "What Was Once Home to 300 Families Is Now a Grave- 
yard," Sarah Helm, The Independent, 24 August 1995. "Helsinki Commit- 
tee Chronicles Human Rights Abuses," Tanjug, 28 August 1 995. 
"Memorandum on the Ethnic Cleansing of and Genocide Against the Serb 
People of Croatia and Krajina," Yugoslav Survey, third quarter, 1995. 
^ "Krajina Bears Signs of Croat Ethnic Cleansing," Randolph Ryan, Boston 
Globe, 8 October 1995. "UN Official Confirms Croatian Crimes in Kra- 
jina," Tanjug, 13 October 1995. 

* "Krajina Bears Signs of Croat Ethnic Cleansing," Randolph Ryan, op. cit. 
' "Croats Bum and Kill with a Vengeance," Robert Fisk, The Independent, 
4 September 1995. "Croats Leave Bloody Trail of Serbian Dead," Tracy 
Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 9 October 1995. "Reports Say Croatia Uses 
Killing, Arson," John Pomfret, Washington Post, 30 September 1995. "UN 
Asks for Inquiry into Krajina Killings," Reuters, 18 August 1995. "EU 
Observ ers Accuse Croatia of Breaches of Law," op. cit. "UN Finds Evi- 
dence of Mass Killings in Croatia," Reuters, 2 October 1995. "Croats 
Slaughter Elderly by the Dozen," Robert Fisk, op. cit. "EU Report Accuses 
Croatia of Atrocities Against Rebel Serbs," Julian Borger, op. cit. "UN: 
Executions, Possible Mass Graves in Krajina," Agence France-Presse, 18 
August 1995. "Helsinki Committee Chronicles Human Rights Abuses," op. 
cit. "Evidence Emerging of Crimes Against Krajina Serbs," Tanjug, 30 
August 1995. "Croats Accused of Alrocities," Associated Press, 29 Sep- 
tember 1995. 

* "Croats Bum and Kill With a Vengeance," Robert Fisk, op. cit. "EU Re- 
port Accuses Croatia of Atrocities Against Rebel Serbs," Julian Borger, op. 
cit. "Television Report," RTBF-1 Television Netv.ork (Brussels), 20 August 
1995. "Memorandum on the Ethnic Cleansing of and Genocide Against the 
Serb People of Croatia and Krajina," Yugoslav Survey, third quarter, 1995. 
' "Krajina Operation: Helsinki Committee Member Describes Atrocities in 
Krajina," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 25 August 1995. 



GREGORY ELICH I 39 



' ° "UN Asks for Inquiry Into Krajina Killings," op. cil. "UN Finds Evi- 
dence of Mass Killings in Croatia," op. cit. "UN: Executions, Possible 
Mass Graves in Krajina," op. cit. 

' ' "Croats Slaughter Elderly by the Dozen," Robert Fisk, op. cit. 

"Croats Ready for a Fresh OflFense Against Serbs," Patrick Bishop, 
Electronic Telegraph, 16 August 1995. "Tudjman's speeches," Radio 
Croatia Network, 26 August 1995. "U.S. Says Croatia Is Not Guilty of 
'Ethnic Cleansing,' " Patrick Moore, Open Media Research Institute, 10 
August 1995. 

"Croatian Minister Says U.S. Gave Advice on OflFensive," Jasmina Kuz- 
maao\'K,Associated Press, 5 August 1995. "Croatia Takes Effective Con- 
trol of What's Left of Bosnia," San Francisco Chronicle, 1 1 August 1995. 

"NATO in Dubrovnik," Vladimir Jovanovic, Monitor (Pogorica, Yugo- 
slavia), 23 June 1995. 

" "AP Report on U.S. Peace Strategy," Associated Press, 13 November 
1995. 

"AP Report on U.S. Peace Strategy," Associated Press, op. cit. "U.S. 
Troops Operate in Croatia," Associated Press, 3 February 1995. 
" "Invisible U.S. Army Defeats Serbs," Charlotte Eagar, The Observer 
(London), 5 November 1995. 

"Military Cooperation Agreement Signed with U.S.," HTV Television 
(Zagreb), 13 October 1995. 

" "We Can Prevent Any Serbian Maneuver," Interview with Tihomir 
Blaskicby Jozo Pavkovic, Vecernji List (Zagreb), 1 1 March 1995. 
^° "Croatian Leader's Invitation to Holocaust Museum Sparks Anger and 
Shock," Diana Jean Schemo, New York Times News Service, 2 1 April 
1993. 

^' "Croatia, at a Key Strategic Crossroad, Builds Militarily and Geographi- 
cally," Defense and Foreign A ffairs Strategic Policy (London), 3 1 January 
1993. "Who is Franjo Tudjman?," Narodna Armija (Belgrade), 1 March 
1990. 

"Criticism of Tudjman Award to Ustasha," Foreign Broadcast Informa- 
tion Service Media Note (Media summary), 27 January 1995. "Nationalism 
Turns Sour in Croatia," New York Times News Service, 13 November 1993. 
"Plan to Honour Ustashe Killers Outrages Minorities in Croatia," Ian 
Traynor, The Guardian, 18 October 1993. "Trpimir for an Executioner and 
a Victim," Mirko Mirkovic, Feral Tribune (Split, Croatia), 20 February 
1995. "Croatian General Former Ustasha," Tanjug, 26 February 1995. 

"Croatia Grants Awards to Nazi-Era War Veterans," Reuters, 7 Novem- 
ber 1996. 

"New Croatian Money Anathema to Serbs," John Pomf ret, Washington 
Post, 3 1 May 1 994. "Plan to Honour Ustashe Killers Outrages Minorities 



140 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



in Croatia," Ian Traynor, op. cit. "Pro-Nazi Legacy Lingers for Croatia," 
Stephen Kinzer, New York Times News Service, 30 October 1993. 
"Monument to Anti-Fascism Desecrated in Croatia," Tanjug, 4 February 
1995. "Another Anti-Fascist Monument Blown Up in Croatia," Tanjug, 1 1 
April 1995. "Croatia, Symbols of Crimes," Miodrag Dundjerovic, Tanjug, 
1 June 1 994. "Croatia Adopts New Currency Recalling Fascist Era," 
Reuters, 9 May 1994. "Hiding Genocide," Gregory Copley, Defense and 
Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 3 1 December 1992. "Croatia Is Rehabili- 
tating Ustashism and the Independent State of Croatia," Politika 
(Belgrade), 12 February 1993. "Tudjman Calls for All-White Peace Force 
in Croatia," Eve Ann Prentice, The Times (London), 1 1 April 1995. 
"Croatia to Seek Expulsion of Non-White U.N Troops," Tanjug, 10 April 
1995. 

Interview with Fran jo Tudjman, HTV Television, 22 April 1996. 
Address by Fran jo Tudjman to the Croatian World Congress in Brioni, 

Radio Croatia Network (Zagreb) 6 July 1 996. 

^' "Croatian Towns, Villages Cleansed of Serbs," Tanjug, 26 January 1993. 
"Savovic: Croatia Expelled 300,000 Serbs," Tanjug, 5 November 1993. 
"Serb Party OflTicial: 350,000 Serbs Driven Out," Tanjug, 26 August 1994. 

"Croatian Police Tactics Cited," Associated Press. 3 October 1994. 
"Helsinki Committee Chair: Collective Vendetta Against Croatia's Serbs," 
Tanjug, 7 May 1994. "Protests Prevent Latest Wave of Croatian Apartment 
Evictions," Radio Free Europe, 12 July 1994. "Croatian Human Rights 
Activist: Zagreb Backs Human Rights Violations," Tanjug, 28 September 
1994. "Rights Groups Report Abuses by Croatia," David Binder, New York 
Times News Service, 7 December 1993. 

^' "Interior Minister Aide Accused of War Crimes," ZDF Television Net- 
work (Mainz), 17 May 1994. "Slovene Daily Says Croatian Leaders Keep 
Quiet About Massacre of Serbs," Tanjug, 14 January 1994. "Croatian Pa- 
per Calls Mass Killings of Serbs a National Disgrace," Tanjug, 12 July 
1994. "Zagreb Knows about Mass Killings of Serbs," Tanjug, 23 July 1994. 
"Dossier: Pakracka Poljana," Feral Tribune, 1 September 1997. "Death 
Camps and Mass Graves in Western Slavonia: Marino Selo and Pakracka 
Poljana," dossier prepared by Serbian Council, Belgrade, American Srbo- 
bran, 22 September 1997. 

^ "Miro Bajranovic's Confession," Feral Tribune, 1 September 1997. 
"Croatian's Confession Describes Torture and Killing on Vast Scale," 
Chris Hedges, The New York Times, 5 September 1997. 



8 The Dayton Accords 
reshape Europe 



Gary Wilson 



U.S. troops in Bosnia have not brought peace to the peoples of 
the Balkans. There is at most a suppression of hostilities. The 
Muslims, Croats, Serbs, and all the other peoples of the region 
have suffered greatly. But to find a solution that can really end 
the conflict in the Balkans, it is necessary to understand the 
problem. 

The U.S. -NATO military occupation of Bosnia was 
forced on that country by the Clinton administration during 
talks in Dayton, Ohio, in the autumn of 1995. At that meeting, a 
gun was put to the heads of the Bosnian peoples as Washington 
threatened a bombing campaign like the one the Pentagon 
waged against Baghdad, Iraq, during the Gulf War. They were 
given no choice in the matter. Newsweek magazine saw great 
glory in the U.S. -imposed agreement. Its report declared: "Hail 
Pax Americana! Salute the return of the superpower!"' 

The dividing up of the former Yugoslavia dictated by the 
Dayton agreement was in some ways reminiscent of the first 
division of the Balkan peninsula at the Congress of Berlin in 
1878. It was not done by the people of the Balkans. It was not 
decided on the basis of self-determination for each nationality — 
Serb, Croat, Slovene, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Albanian, 
Romani. Nor was it based on religion — Muslim, Serbian Ortho- 
dox, Jewish, Roman Catholic. 



142 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



The Congress of Berlin was one of the first great meet- 
ings of the emerging imperialist powers to divide up the world 
among the robber-baron capitalists for their own profit. History 
books refer to this as the classic period of imperialism. The CD- 
ROM version of Grolier's Encyclopedia, which is used in 
schools across the country, says, "The term imperialism is most 
commonly identified with 19th-century colonialism and the 
carving of the globe into 'spheres of influence' by the European 
powers." The Congress of Berlin divided the collapsing Otto- 
man Empire, with the bulk of the spoils going to the British and 
Austro-Hungarian imperialists. The Balkans were divided into 
petty states that had no independent economic viability. 

Is this only history? Lawrence Eagleburger, who had 
been secretary of state during the Bush administration, said in 
1994 that what was needed was "a modem-day Congress of 
Berlin" run by the U.S., "the Germans and the French and the 
Italians," that would draw a new map dividing the Balkans. 
Yugoslavs should be told, Eagleburger said, "If you don't do 
this, we're collectively going to kick the shit out of you."^ 

The Dayton accord was just that event. The U.S. drew 
the map and dictated its terms. And an occupation army was 
imposed to make sure there would be no resistance. For the 
peoples of the region, living under an occupation army of any 
kind is unacceptable. And while the overwhelming U.S. -NATO 
force has blunted the civil war that gripped the Balkans, it has 
not brought real peace. In fact, it is impossible to impose such a 
peace. There is not only opposition in the Balkans to the occu- 
pation. There is opposition across the United States to having 
U.S. troops in the Balkans. The popular sentiment remains, 
"Bring the troops home." And if the facts were to become 
known and understood, there would be a movement demanding 
the withdrawal of U.S. troops much like the movement of the 
1960s that demanded an end to the U.S. war against Vietnam. 

Because of this, what can only be described as a propa- 
ganda war has been launched in the major media intended to 
make the U.S. military occupation seem reasonable. The media. 



GARY WILSON 



143 



run by and for big business, reflect the bias of those who are 
ultimately in control. Most media reports on events in the Bal- 
kans are sensationalized and filled with quotes from State De- 
partment, CIA, or Pentagon sources. When this happens in 
other countries, they call it propaganda. When it happens here, 
they pretend it's just "objective journalism." 

If you were to ask a half-dozen U.S. citizens, picked 
randomly, who are the most aggressive people in the world, at 
least one would answer "the Serbs." Everyone has heard reports 
about Serbian war criminals reportedly running rampant in 
Bosnia. But would anyone point to Washington? And yet the 
United States has more military bases around the world — in one 
hundred countries at last count — than any other power in his- 
tory. Almost three hundred thousand U.S. troops are stationed 
at major bases abroad. In addition, thousands are deployed in 
hundreds of other locations worldwide.^ According to the Cen- 
ter for Defense Information, the United States government is 
spending more than $6 billion a week on military operations. 

The U.S. government is unquestionably the most ag- 
gressive in the world today. Yet few seem to realize this. That's 
how powerful the propaganda is. The difficulty is that the 
propaganda has clouded people's thinking. For most people in 
the United States — except those with relatives in the Balkans 
region — the civil war in the former Yugoslavia seems distant 
and obscure. Many have to confess they're not even sure where 
it is. But working-class youth in the United States may find 
they'll have to learn about the Balkans — not as tourists or stu- 
dents in a geography class. They may learn about it as soldiers. 

Here are some questions and answers that may help ex- 
plain what this struggle is all about. 

You say this is like the Vietnam War? Please explain. 

Both the Vietnam War and the Balkans occupation in- 
volve the world's strongest superpower trying to impose its 
demands on a much smaller country. 



144 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



When President Bill Clinton sent troops into Bosnia he 
promised they would be out in one year — by December 1996. A 
year later he said it would be two more years. Vietnam-era 
presidents kept promising there would be a quick end to that 
war and troops would be out soon. But U.S. involvement kept 
expanding. U.S. troops were there for more than a decade. 

Bosnia is like Vietnam in another way, too. What 
Washington says is not what it really means. Official statements 
cite humanitarian concerns for why the U.S. military is in the 
Balkans region. But that was never the reason. There have been 
bloodier battles around the world and the Pentagon hasn't gone 
in. So there must be other goals. The driving force behind the 
breakup of Yugoslavia and behind the ethnic divisions that 
emerged there has been obscured. The roots lie in the Cold War 
drive of the United States and Western Europe to destroy so- 
cialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The occupation 
of the Balkans by U.S. NATO forces is intimately tied to the 
expansion of NATO into all the former socialist countries. 

Doesn't the U.S. plan to pull its troops out of Bosnia soon? 

The 1990s have become the era of a new colonialism. 
And the occupation of the Balkans is really part of that. Not 
only are as many as twenty thousand U. S. troops in Bosnia, but 
U.S. troops are now based in Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, and 
Hungary. The Defense News says the Bosnia operation actually 
involves up to eighty thousand U.S. troops and a quarter-million 
NATO troops altogether.'* 

Retired U.S. Army Gen. William E. Odom is a long-time 
Pentagon insider. He was the head of the U.S. government's 
biggest spy agency — the ultra-secret National Security Agency 
— during the Reagan administration. In an opinion-page piece in 
the New York Times, Odom indicated that the occupation of 
Bosnia is part of a plan for U.S. military and political domina- 
tion of Europe and the former Soviet Union through NATO.' 
NATO is the arm of U.S. policy in Europe. It is so completely 
dominated by the United States that French President Charles 



GARY WILSON I 45 



DeGaulle once called it the United States' colonial army in 
Europe. Odom advocates a long-term military occupation of the 
Balkans. "Having forty thousand [NATO] troops stationed in 
Bosnia for a generation is a good thing," says Odom, "even if it 
requires twenty thousand American troops to keep them there." 

You call this a civil war. Why is that? The major newspa- 
pers and TV reports never say that. 

Part of the reason Washington and the media refuse to 
call it a civil war is that they can't really explain why the peoples 
of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, 
Montenegro, and Kosovo lived together peacefully for about 
forty-five years. They want to bolster their claim that this is an 
ethnic war of one people against another. In truth, it is a civil 
war involving the breakup of Yugoslavia. And civil wars can be 
bloody, with many casualties. The whole population suffers. It 
is not unlike the U.S. Civil War in that respect. The deaths and 
destruction are consistent with a civil war, not the genocide of a 
people by an oppressor power. 

The legal definition of genocide is "the systematic and 
planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or 
ethnic group." That is what the fascists did to the Jews. And to 
the Serbs, as well as the Romani (Gypsies), gay people, com- 
munists, and socialists. Detention camps are not the same as 
Nazi death camps. And yet detention camps in Bosnia have been 
described as centers of genocide. 

I've frequently heard the Serb leaders being compared to 
the Nazis. You say they're not the same. Why not? 

The U.S. media and politicians often portray the Serbian 
army in Bosnia as being like the Nazi army. This is propaganda. 
There is no basis in fact. That's why sometimes the reports are 
just absurd. Consider remarks made by National Public Radio 
commentator Daniel Schorr. 

President Clinton had said in a speech that the Serb army 
in Bosnia was like the Nazi army of the 1930s and 1940s. 



146 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Schorr, in talking about Clinton's speech, added that in fact the 
Serbs were worse than the Nazis. "At least the Nazis never 
raped Jewish women," he said.^ Schorr was later forced to issue 
a correction to this incredible lie. But it is a sign of how crazy 
the media have become in their drive to convince the people of 
this country that there is a "just" reason for U.S. occupation of 
the Balkans. 

There is no similarity between the Serb army and the 
Nazi army. In this century, Germany has been one of the biggest 
and most modem capitalist economies in the world. In the 
1930s, it had the world's second-largest economy. It was a 
great power with the industrial and military capability to chal- 
lenge its rivals. The fascist Nazi party grew from a small group 
of right-wing fanatics into a force able to take over the German 
government because rich industrialists like the Krupps recog- 
nized them as the ruthless, extra-legal force they needed to 
crush the strong workers' movement. It was during the Great 
Depression, when capitalism was in chaos and even politicians 
from the bankrupt middle class were talking of revolution. Hit- 
ler won the financial and political backing of capitalists like 
Krupp, who weren't worried about his "national socialist" 
demagogy. In fact, the Nazi policy of genocide was part of their 
plan to crush the communist and socialist movements, which 
had the allegiance of the great majority of the workers.^ Once 
that was accomplished, they quickly built a huge army whose 
mission was to dominate Europe and take over the colonial pos- 
sessions of Britain, France, The Netherlands, and Belgium. 

The Serbian army in Bosnia is completely different. 
There is no great military or industrial power behind the Serbs. 
There is only a small industrial base. The Serbs in Bosnia are 
mostly peasant farmers. 

So why are there NATO troops in the Balkans? 

In 1990, the United States government put into place 
plans for a military occupation of Eastern Europe and possibly 
the former Sovist Union. That plan includes the one hundred 



GARY WILSON 147 



thousand-Strong Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction 
Corps, the NATO unit in charge of the Bosnia operation. 

At the end of November 1995, Reuters reported that: 

The Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps 
(ARRC), based at Rheindahlen in western Germany, 
has worked relatively unnoticed since 1992 to put 
into practice NATO's new emphasis. 

[It has] NATO's full array of firepower [and] a tai- 
lor-made fighting force of up to one hundred thou- 
sand soldiers able to deploy quickly. As ARRC com- 
mander, British Lt.-Gen. Michael Walker is in charge 
of running the multinational ground force to be sta- 
tioned in and around Bosnia for NATO's first ground 
deployment outside its own area. The corps, with 
headquarters in Sarajevo, is taking three divisions 
into Bosnia. Two of them, the U.S. First Armored 
Division and the British Third Mechanized Division, 
are permanently assigned to it. The third division is 
French.* 

The United States is using the Bosnian occupation as a 
wedge for the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe. This is 
part of U.S. political and economic expansion into the region. A 
plan for a U.S. -NATO occupation of the Balkans was revealed 
in an opinion piece appearing in the New York Times. Writing in 
the style of a Pentagon briefing, George Kenney of the Carnegie 
Endowment for International Peace and Michael J. Dugan, a 
retired Air Force general and former Air Force chief of staff, 
outlined a blueprint for what they called "Operation Balkan 
Storm." 

The goal of the plan? Kenney and Dugan concluded: "A 
win in the Balkans would establish U.S. leadership in the post- 
Cold War world in a way that Operation Desert Storm [the war 
against Iraq] never could."' 

Warren Zimmerman, the U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia 
during the Reagan and Bush administrations and a consultant 
with the Pentagon-funded Rand Corporation, said that a NATO 



148 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



domination of Bosnia is essential. At stake, lie said, is NATO's 
capability of "expanding" into Eastern Europe. If a NATO oc- 
cupation of Bosnia fails, Zimmerman said, "not only will 
NATO's expansion look ludicrous, but serious roles for NATO 
anywhere else will be hard to imagine."'" 

You say that this war is just a part of the expansion of 
NATO into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. 
Didn't it start because of internal conflicts in Yugoslavia? 

The hidden hand of the big powers behind the civil war 
that ripped Yugoslavia apart remains mostly unknown to the 
public. One of the few reports in the major media appeared in 
the British daily newspaper The Guardian. It was titled 
"Bosnia: The Secret War." 

The report concluded, "Despite official denials, the CIA 
and other American 'secret services,' including the CIA's Pen- 
tagon cousin the DIA, have been engaged deep within Bosnia's 
war since its inception."" 

Another report providing some details was made by 
T.W "Bill" Carr of the London-based Defense & Foreign Af- 
fairs magazine. In a speech on Bonn's and Washington's role in 
breaking up Yugoslavia and arming counter-revolutionary na- 
tionalist forces — particularly those led by Franjo Tudjman in 
Croatia and Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia — Carr said: 

Reliable intelligence sources claimed in 1990 that in 
1988 Mr. Tudjman paid a secret visit to the Federal 
Republic of Germany and met with Chancellor Kohl 
and other senior government ministers. It was said 
that the aim of the visit was to formulate a joint pol- 
icy to break up Yugoslavia, leading to the recreation 
of a new independent State of Croatia with interna- 
tional borders in the form originally set up by the 
German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, in 1941. 

At a secret meeting in Bonn, the German government 
pledged its political, financial, and covert military 



GARY WILSON I 49 



support for Croatia's secession from the Federal Re- 
public of Yugoslavia.'^ 

This, Carr says, "fitted neatly into Germany's strategic 
objectives in respect to the Balkans." Those included bringing 
"Croatia and Slovenia within the German economic zone [and] 
gaining direct access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean." 

Carr said that in order to finance the secessionist forces 
under Tudjman, Germany arranged an interest-firee $2-billion 
loan. Tudjman was the president of the Croatian republic that, 
at the time, was still part of Yugoslavia. The loan was never re- 
ported to the central Yugoslav government, as required by law. 

Carr also gave details on the maneuvering of the U.S. 
government. He said the most notable feature of U.S. secret 
policy in the beginning was to make military threats against the 
Yugoslav Army unless it completely surrendered to U.S. de- 
mands. But it often didn't work. Carr offered a description of 
one memorable interaction between U.S. military officers and 
the Yugoslav Army's top staff. 

A senior U.S. officer was introduced as having wide 
experience in the Vietnam War and that his armored 
units in the Gulf War had destroyed seven Iraqi ar- 
mored divisions. The threat was made to send him to 
the Balkans to do a similar destruction job on the 
JNA [Yugoslav National Army]. [But] despite having 
been told not to argue by [Yugoslav] Gen. Panic, the 
[Yugoslav] Chief of Military Intelligence could not 
resist saying that the U.S. officer had lost in Vietnam 
and he would find the mountains of Bosnia and Ser- 
bia much tougher than a flat desert.'^ 

Carr showed how the U.S. government created a joint 
Croatian and Bosnian military command. "At the same time, the 
U.S. government dispatched to Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, and 
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a number of 
'recently retired' U.S. Army officers as 'advisors.' " These advi- 
sors developed a coordinated military strategy to defeat the 
Serbs and trained the Croatian and Bosnian officer corps. Carr 



150 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



said, "While this training was in progress, intelligence sources 
claim the advisors brought in U.S. Special Forces. Though ini- 
tially denied, the deployment of the U.S. Special Forces was 
later admitted by a U.S. government spokesman." In 1995, the 
Bosnian Army was headed by a U.S. Army general, Carr said — 
Gen. John Galvin, a former NATO commander and recently the 
head of West Point — who "planned and executed" a Bosnian 
Army offensive that year. It should be remembered that there 
was no civil war in Yugoslavia until Slovenia and Croatia se- 
ceded. 

Who is Fran jo Tudjman? 

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has received consid- 
erable backing from the German government as well as the U.S. 
Pentagon and State Department. His backing by Washington is 
so great that he was invited to be a guest of honor at the open- 
ing of the Holocaust museum. This is the man who once de- 
clared, "Thank God my wife is neither a Serb nor a Jew." 
Tudjman is a Croatian nationalist who gained support from 
Germany and the United States on the basis of his rabid anti- 
communism. When Croatia broke off from Yugoslavia, Tudj- 
man' s government adopted the flag and currency that had been 
used by the fascist Ustashe regime during World War II. 

His book Wastelands: Historical Truths asserts that 
"only" nine hundred thousand Jews died in the Holocaust, not 
six million. He also asserts that no more than seventy thousand 
Serbs were killed in the Ustashe death camps. 

Scholars specializing in World War II, however, esti- 
mate that the number of Serbs killed in these camps ranged 
between six hundred thousand and a million plus. 

Tudjman wrote, "Genocide is a natural phenomenon in 
keeping with human social and mythological divine nature. It is 
not only allowed, but even recommended."''' Tudjman has never 
been indicted by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague for his 
advocacy of genocide. 



GARY WILSON I 5 I 



Although the U.S. has brokered a Croatian-Bosnian fed- 
eration between Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic, it is a shaky 
alliance at best. Tudjman is violently anti-Muslim, to the point 
of even denying Muslim legitimacy. In an interview published in 
the French daily Le Figaro, Tudjman said that the Muslims are 
really Croatians who should eventually be incorporated into 
Croatia. He sees his task in the Croatian-Bosnian federation as 
"Europeanizing" the Muslims, "bringing them into European 
civilization."'^ Tudjman is a raving racist. 

According to a New York Times profile of Tudjman, he 
came to power "helped by financing from anti-communist 
Croatian emigres in the United States and Canada."'^ What the 
Times doesn't mention is that these groups are ultimately fi- 
nanced by the CIA. 

What about Alija Izetbegovic? 

When Bosnia-Herzegovina broke off fi-om Yugoslavia, 
the most popular Muslim leader was not Alija Izetbegovic. By 
popular vote, Fikret Abdic was the most widely supported 
Muslim leader. But he was against the breakup of Yugoslavia 
and not in the pocket of Washington. He supported Muslim- 
Serbian-Croatian cooperation. With U.S. support, a narrow 
grouping around Izetbegovic forced Abdic out of the Bosnian 
government, where he was part of the collective presidency. He 
then led an army that allied with the Bosnian Serbs and opposed 
the Izetbegovic forces. In the spring of 1995 he was captured by 
the Croatian Army and forced into exile. 

The regime of Alija Izetbegovic is completely dependent 
on the United States for its existence. In fact, its first foreign 
minister was a U.S. citizen. 

Izetbegovic is another long-time anti-communist fanatic. 
He's typical of the anti-communists supported by the U.S. gov- 
ernment throughout the Cold War. During World War II, he 
belonged to a group that collaborated with the Nazi occupiers. 
In 1949, Izetbegovic was one of the leaders of a revoh against 
the Tito government. He and several others were sent to prison. 



152 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



After he got out, Izetbegovic continued his counter- 
revolutionary activities. He maintained close contact with U.S.- 
backed exile groups. 

In 1 970, he published his Islamic Declaration that said 
"there can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic 
faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions."'* In 1983, 
he and twelve others were convicted for counter-revolutionary 
acts, including advocating an "ethnically pure Bosnia- 
Herzegovina."" 

What about the ethnic genocide that's been reported in 
Bosnia? And the war crimes tribunal in The Hague? 

The war crimes tribunal sitting in The Hague is not 
really about law. In fact, it doesn't even follow recognized in- 
ternational law and procedure. ^° The tribunal is staffed mostly 
by appointees from Washington and serves as an extension of 
U.S. political policy in Europe.^' 

In 1992, U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger 
declared Yugoslavia's leaders to be war criminals and practi- 
cally dictated the agenda for the tribunal. The judges for the 
tribunal were hand-picked by the very powers that now occupy 
the former Yugoslavia. It has not been given authority to look 
into war crimes committed anywhere else. 

Of the seventy-six people publicly indicted by the tribu- 
nal, almost sixty are Serbs. Although the U. S. media have con- 
vinced many that everyone publicly indicted by The Hague tri- 
bunal — and the untold numbers secretly indicted — are guilty, 
there is little evidence for this that could stand up in a real court 
of law. Serb leaders like Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic 
are not presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are being 
told they must prove they are not guilty. 

The charge of genocide in Bosnia has been made so of- 
ten that many believe it has already been proven. But George 
Kenney, one of the framers of U.S. policy in the Balkans under 
the Bush administration, says: "The U.S. government doesn't 
have proof of any genocide. And anyone reading the press criti- 



GARY WILSON I 53 



cally can see that paucity of evidence, despite interminably re- 
peated claims and bloodcurdling speculation."^^ 

In the first trial before The Hague tribunal, charges were 
quietly dropped because the man charged had been living in 
Germany the whole time that his alleged crimes were commit- 
ted. The second trial, that of Dusko Tadic, ended May 7, 1997 
He was sentenced July 14, 1997. By the court's own admission, 
Tadic was not a major military figure. And the court was unable 
to come up with evidence that he had committed any specific 
murders. All the widely publicized charges of genocide against 
him were also dropped for lack of evidence. In the end, he was 
convicted of beating prisoners and being responsible for the 
deaths of two Bosnian police officers. 

A revealing side to the trial of Tadic is that it started on 
May 2, 1996, just after the Israeli military, using U.S. -provided 
technology and weapons, bombed a refugee camp in Lebanon, 
killing over a hundred people. Wasn't this a war crime? But no 
Israeli or U.S. military and civilian officials were ever charged 
for this. And no indictment was brought when it was revealed 
that German soldiers training for their military mission into the 
former Yugoslavia had staged mock executions and rapes of 
civilians during a break. The Bild am Sonntag newspaper 
printed pictures fi-om a videotape that showed German soldiers 
in battle fatigues pretending to rape Yugoslav women and a 
uniformed soldier putting his gun into the mouth of another 
soldier. Other photos show enactments of "civilians" being tor- 
tured and hanging fi-om trees. 

To put the indictments and arrest warrants in perspec- 
tive, consider some well-known war crimes since 1945, when 
the first war-crimes tribunal was held that put the German Nazi 
regime in the dock. U.S. President Harry Truman was never 
indicted for ordering the incineration of hundreds of thousands 
of Japanese civilians in the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and 
Nagasaki. Winston Churchill was never indicted for murdering 
some 135,000 civilians when he ordered the firebombing of 
Dresden. An International War Crimes Tribunal, sponsored by 



154 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Bertrand Russell, amply documented U.S. violations of interna- 
tional law in the war against Vietnam. It had enormous moral 
and political authority, but no executive arm to issue warrants. 
No "international force" ever roamed the streets of the United 
States arresting war criminals. 

French war crimes in Algeria during that country's lib- 
eration struggle are also well documented — including systematic 
torture to obtain information. Apartheid South Africa commit- 
ted heinous atrocities in its suppression of the Black majority at 
home, in its invasion of Angola, and in its sponsorship of a 
right-wing guerrilla force in Mozambique. Britain has a long 
history of war crimes in northern Ireland. And yet no indict- 
ments have been issued for these or any other war crimes. 

More recently, no U.S. general or member of the Bush 
administration faced indictment for war crimes in the 1991 Gulf 
War, even though civilian shelters in Baghdad were targeted 
and bombed — a crime under international law. No Russian gen- 
eral or member of Boris Yeltsin's regime has been indicted for 
the crimes committed in Chechnya. 

The Hague tribunal is pursuing a limited political agenda 
defined primarily by U.S. interests. 

Are you saying there weren't crimes in the Balkans war? 

There have been terrible, bloody events in the Yugoslav 
civil war. No one can deny that. And the media reports have 
been about some of these events. But what has been emphasized 
has been very selective. For example, a mass slaughter of Serbs 
occurred in the Krajina area of Croatia in the summer of 1995. 
According to investigators for the United Nations, "Croatian 
army and police units allegedly burned 60 percent of the 
houses" in the Krajina region.^' Unlike almost every other re- 
port of genocide in the civil war, these reports were "unusual in 
their first-hand detail." 

An open letter written at that time fi"om the Serbian- 
Jewish Friendship Society based in Belgrade to the American 
Jewish Committee said that "anti-Serbian propaganda" is "a 



GARY WILSON I 55 



twin sister of anti-Semitism." The letter stated that Croatia had 
instituted a policy of eliminating the Serbs. This policy was so 
thorough that "in Croatia there are [now] no more Serbs than 
there are Jews in Germany or Poland." The letter was signed by 
the chief rabbi of Yugoslavia as well as by many other promi- 
nent Jews of Yugoslavia. 

The Croatian Army that carried out this massacre was 
being directed by U.S. military officers. A report in The Nation 
magazine on "Privatizing War" describes the activities of Mili- 
tary Professional Resources Inc., based in Arlington, Va., which 
trained both the Croatian and Bosnian armies. MPRI, run by 
"retired" U.S. military officers, has been described as having 
more four-star generals than the Pentagon. The Nation reports: 

Just months after MPRI went into Croatia, that na- 
tion's army — until then bumbling and inept — 
launched a series of bloody offensives against Ser- 
bian forces. Most important was Operation Lightning 
Storm, the assault on the Krajina region during which 
Serbian villages were sacked and burned, hundreds of 
civilians were killed and some 170,000 people were 
driven from their homes. 

TJie Nation report says that MPRI "played an important 
role in the Krajina campaign." The war crimes tribunal in The 
Hague has never indicted any U.S. military officer — or anyone 
else, for that matter — for the Krajina massacre. 

The Bosnian Army is also being "helped" by U.S. mili- 
tary advisors, including Gen. John Sewall and Gen. John Galvin, 
the former NATO supreme commander. The entire Bosnian 
Army wears U.S. military uniforms provided by U.S. military 
contractors. Gen. Charles Boyd, the deputy commander in chief 
of the U.S. European Command from November 1992 to July 
1995, says that the much-publicized arms embargo in the region 
is almost nonexistent. He says that the U.S. insures a regular 
flow of arms to the Bosnian Army." 

U.S. media reports on the Krajina massacre were filled 
with references to "rebel Serbs" and talked of the Krajina as a 



156 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



region "conquered" by the Serbs. The implication was that the 
Croatian Army was simply retaking something that had been 
stolen. But the truth is exactly the opposite. The following ex- 
change shows the propaganda view of the major media and 
gives a response. On a broadcast of National Public Radio's 
"All Things Considered," news reader Noah Adams interviewed 
author Misha Glenny: 

Adams: Why did Serbia take the Krajina four years 
ago, if it is indefensible? 

Glenny: We've got to set one or two things straight 
here, Noah, about Serbia taking the Krajba. The 
Krajina came into being at the same time as the 
Croatian republic became independent when Yugo- 
slavia was collapsing. The Croats wanted to leave 
Yugoslavia and the Serbs who lived in the Krajina 
wanted to stay in Yugoslavia. So we simply can't use 
terms like "Serbia occupying the Krajina" or some- 
thing like that. These people had been, until five days 
ago, living and famiing this territory for over three 
hundred years. ^' 

So who supports the NATO occupation of Bosnia? 

U.S. arms merchants are some of the most ardent sup- 
porters of this occupation. Arms manufacturers are making big 
bucks on the $6.5 billion that the U.S. government is conserva- 
tively estimated to have spent on the occupation of Bosnia.® 
The U.S. military is driven to continually expand and use its 
arms. And the U.S. military-industrial complex must continually 
make sales or shut down for lack of profit. As one Pentagon 
official said, "It's an ugly little story, but there's a lot of money 
and perceived prestige at stake" in having weapons deployed in 
any military operation. The payoff goes to giants of the mili- 
tary-industrial complex like General Dynamics, General Electric, 
General Motors, Lockheed Martin, McDonnell Douglas, Ray- 
theon, and United Technologies. U.S. military expenditures 
continue to grow* According to the Center for Defense Infer- 



GARY WILSON 157 



mation web site, U.S. military spending between 1948 and 1991 
averaged $29 1 billion a year. And the military plans endorsed in 
1996 by the supposedly budget-conscious Congress and White 
House will add up to more than $1.6 trillion over the next six 
years. 

In the first decades of this century, huge military ex- 
penditures bought military victories. The big powers of Europe, 
the United States, and Japan "won" sources of raw materials 
and markets by outright seizures of territory. The competition 
between these big capitalist powers for control of markets and 
resources led to two world wars. But things have changed since 
the end of World War II. Military expenditures are increasing, 
even at a time of budget reductions, but there are no corre- 
sponding victories. From a strictly economic point of view — 
and leaving out for the moment the interests of different 
classes — the building of an aircraft carrier or a cruise missile 
system used to pay for itself if it seized new markets to exploit 
or grabbed material resources like oil, or if it took control of 
sales territories that had been controlled by competing rivals. 

But beginning with the Korean War, U.S. military ex- 
pansion has not brought back the returns in superprofits neces- 
sary to support military expansion. Under capitalism, an enter- 
prise must generate a profit. And by this measure, the military 
has not been a profitable venture. Even the so-called victory 
over Iraq failed to seize much of that country's vast oil wealth, 
though it did manage to remove some key oil fields from Iraqi 
control. 

Consider the cost of one aircraft carrier — $3 .4 billion. 
But these enormous projects have no economic value to the 
U.S. government unless they can bring back a profit for U.S. big 
business. More and more, militarism is being paid for by cutting 
social programs. 

Are only the arms merchants behind this? 

No. U.S. banks and big business see the former Yugo- 
slavia as a place for expansion, much as pirates see a conquered 



158 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



galleon as a source of loot. The death of U.S. Commerce Secre- 
tary Ron Brown and thirty-four others in a plane crash on April 
3, 1996, while on a mission to Croatia and Bosnia, was reveal- 
ing. Brown was leading a delegation of U.S. business and 
banking executives. On the plane were twelve chief executives 
and fourteen U.S. government employees, one identified by the 
State Department only as a CIA employee. The executives in- 
cluded the chair and chief executive of Riggs International Bank 
in Washington, the U.S. executive director of the European 
Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a vice president 
of AT&T's Submarine Systems division. There was also the 
president of Bechtel's operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle 
East, and Southwest Asia. The San Francisco-based Bechtel 
engineering company is one of the biggest Pentagon contractors 
in the United States. In addition, the chair and chief executive of 
Parsons Corporation of Pasadena, California, was on board. 
Parsons is one of the world's biggest engineering and construc- 
tion corporations. Another passenger was the New York Times 
bureau chief in Frankfurt, Germany. 

This was a high-level operation. The New York Times 
reported that a great many unanswered questions surrounded 
the crash of Brown's plane in Dubrovnik, Croatia.^' The crash 
reflected the breakneck pace of the competition to exploit new 
markets opening in the former socialist countries. The Times 
even suggested there were "profit motives, unspoken pressures" 
involved in the crash. 

During the "classic" period of imperialism, trade — that 
is, the export of goods — was dominant. That was before the 
emergence of giant monopolies. Now trade is secondary to the 
export of capital. This includes government loans or loans 
through giant financial institutions dominated by the U.S., like 
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, or the 
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Such 
loans are usually made to finance projects like office buildings, 
factories, or military bases where the work is contracted to 
companies based* in the country where the loan originated. 



GARY WILSON I 59 



Companies like Bechtel, for example, whose representative was 
on Secretary Brown's plane. The loans might also be to build or 
redevelop highways, railroads, ports, and so on. Parsons Corpo- 
ration specializes in just such projects. 

Capital exports have for a century created a way to util- 
ize the "surplus" capital of the dominant countries. But most of 
the world market is already carved up and under the control of 
one or another cartel. There are only a limited number of "new" 
projects that finance capital can undertake. There is fierce com- 
petition among similar corporations in each of the big powers — 
primarily the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, and Japan — for 
these markets. The takeover of the socialist countries and indus- 
tries in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union has generated a 
new capitalist fi-enzy to control these new markets. 

You refer to Socialist Yugoslavia. Was that any better? 

Yugoslavia was different from most other countries in 
the world in its ethnic diversity. It had no majority nationality. It 
was a nation of minorities. Socialist Yugoslavia had gone a long 
way toward uniting the nationalities while recognizing the rights 
of self-determination for the different peoples of the region. 
Although there were certainly problems and mistakes were 
made during that time, without a doubt it was better than what 
is happening now. 

The history of the Yugoslav socialist revolution is in- 
structive for those looking for another way out of the Balkans 
war. Here's a description from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

Armed resistance to the [Nazi] occupation began in 
Bosnia, and there the Croatian Fascists began a mas- 
sacre of Serbs which, in the whole annals of World 
War II, was surpassed for savagery only by the mass 
extermination of Polish Jews. The Serbs took to the 
hills and forests to defend themselves. In Serbia itself 
a force led by the regular army colonel, Dragomir 
(Draza) Mihajlovic, fought Germans in the early 
summer. After Hitler attacked Russia, the Yugoslav 
Communists, who had already made military prepa- 



160 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



rations, took the field in Serbia and Montenegro. By 
September a large part of both these lands was liber- 
ated by these two forces, which at first helped each 
other but then came to blows. In November the Ger- 
mans drove all resistance forces out of Serbia and 
massacred thousands of people in reprisal. 

In the following three years the Communist forces 
grew, while the forces of Mihajlovic lost ground. One 
reason was that Mihajlovic came to depend on the 
support of various Serbian armed units in Italian- 
occupied territory which fought under Italian com- 
mand against the Communist partisans. Another was 
that the partisans attracted thousands to their ranks 
by their slogan of unity of all Yugoslav nations 
against the invaders and traitors. This slogan pro- 
vided the only alternative to the fi-atricidal massacres, 
first of Serbs by Pavelic's Croatian Fascists and then 
of Croats and Moslems by Serbian nationalist Chet- 
niks owing allegiance to Mihajlovic. In their liberated 
territory the Communists, led by Josip Broz, known 
as Tito, a Croat, built not only an army but a crude 
civil administration. 

A new government emerged in 1946 after the defeat of 
the fascists. "Its main feature," the Encyclopaedia Britannica 
said, "was the creation of six constituent republics; Serbia, 
Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Ma- 
cedonia. Vojvodina and the Albanian-inhabited Kosovo- 
Metohija district were autonomous provinces within the Serbian 
republic." The entry adds, "Of the six republics, the one that 
gained most was certainly Macedonia, whose people were for 
the first time allowed to use their language in public and to call 
themselves Macedonians." 



' David H. Hackworth, "Learning about war the hard way," Newsweek, 4 
December 1995, p. 30. 

^ Michael Kelly, "Surrender and blame," The New Yorker, 19 December 
1994. 

^ Center for Defense Information web site (www.cdi.org), 1995 figures. 



GARY WILSON I 6 I 



" Defense News, 25 November 1 995. 
' New York Times, 5 December 1995. 
* National Public Radio, "Saturday Edition," 17 April 1993. 
' See Daniel Guerin, Fascism and Big Business (New York: Pioneer Pub- 
lishers, 1939). 

' Reuters, 30 November 1995. 
' New York Times, 9 November 1992. 
'° New York Times, 23 June 1995. 
" The Guardian, 29 January 1996. 

Transcript of a speech by T.W. ("Bill") Carr, associate publisher, De- 
fense & Foreign Affairs Publications, London, delivered at a symposium on 
the Balkan War, "Yugoslavia: Past and Present," Chicago, 31 August- 1 
September 1995. 

Op. at. 

Moira Martingale, Cannibal Killers: The History of Impossible Murder- 
ers (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), pp. 199-200. 

Le Figaro, 25 September 1995. 
^^New York Times, 19 August 1995. 

" "In Bosnia, an ethnic exception," Washington Post, 13 June 1997. 

Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration, translated excerpts available 
from the Balkan Research Centre in "A briefing paper produced for mem- 
bers for the 1992/3 session of the British Parhament," 21 December 1992, 
on line; originally printed privately 1970, reprinted Sarajevo, 1990 
(http://suc.suc.org/~kostaytar/bosna/). 

" A private letter from Dr. Milan Bulajic, director of the Museum of 
Genocide Victims in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, written 7 November 1995, 
says: "The present leader of the Bosnian MusUms, Alija Izetbegovic, joined 
the organization 'Young Muslims' in Sarajevo on March 5, 1943. As a 
member of this organization he took active part in establishment of the 
notorious 'SS Hanjjar Division' and collaborated with Hitler's intelligence 
services (Abver and Gertago). Alija Izetbegovic because of his fascist 
activities was sentenced in the year 1946 to three years of prison and two 
years of deprivation of civil rights. These documents (verdict and facsimile 
of the documents) were presented at the trial in 1983." 
^° "Critical jurists have pointed out that in its structure the tribunal had 
little to do with genuine legal principles or practices," pointed out former 
New York Times bureau chief David Binder in "Thoughts on United States 
policy towards Yugoslavia," The South Slav Journal, vol. 16, no. 61-62, 
Autumn- Winter 1995. 

^' United Nations Document A/C.5/49/42 dated 5 December 1994 says that 
the personnel in the Office of the Prosecutor are: twenty-two United States; 
four The Netherlands; two Germany; two Denmark; two Norway; two 



162 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Sweden; two Zimbabwe; one Great Britain. The war crimes tribunal is paid 
for by voluntary contributions. The United States paid $3 million of its 
S7-million budget. 

" New York Times, 16 December 1992. 

" "Steering Clear of Balkan Shoals," The Nation, 8/15 January 1996, 
p. 21. 

Bildam Sonntag, 6 July 1997. 
" Washington Post, 30 September 1995. 

^* Ken Silverstein, "Privatizing War," The Nation, 28 July/4 August 1997, 
p. 11. 

General Charles G. Boyd, "Making Peace with the Guilty: The Truth 
About Bosnia," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995, p. 22. 

National Public Radio, "All Things Considered," 1 1 August 1995. 

New York Times, 5 October 1997. 
^° Washington Post, 12 September 1996. 

New York Times, 6 April 1996. 

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 
1957), vol. 23, p. 920. 



PART THREE 



THE WAR 
AND 
THE MEDIA 




■.^/^ ' ..: . : . - K oft'' /-On 
^■.■. .. ■■■rf- '(Sjl^ ^-iW ' ^jj j '^•'/■'^' ' ' ■ :>i 




■Uj 



THE PROOF 





British tabloids front-paged the picture that fooled the world. 



9 The picture that 
fooled the world 



Thomas Deichmann* 



The picture that appeared in several tabloids reproduced on the 
facing page is of Fikret Alic, a Bosnian Muslim. Emaciated and 
stripped to the waist, he is apparently imprisoned behind a 
barbed-wire fence in a Bosnian Serb camp at Tmopolje. The 
picture was taken from a videotape shot on August 5, 1992, by 
an award-winning British television team led by Penny Marshall 
of ITN. Marshall was accompanied by her cameraman Jeremy 
Irvin, Ian Williams of Channel 4, and reporter Ed Vulliamy from 
The Guardian newspaper. 

For many, this picture has become a symbol of the hor- 
rors of the Bosnian war — "Belsen '92," as one British newspa- 
per headline captioned the photograph.' But that image is mis- 
leading. The fact is that Fikret Alic and his fellow Bosnian 
Muslims were not imprisoned behind a barbed-wire fence. There 
was no barbed-wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. It was 



This chapter is an edited translation of an article that appeared in the 
German magazine Novo, January/February 1997 issue. It was then pub- 
lished in English in the British magazine LM, Issue 97, February 1997. 
The British television station ITN sued to prevent LM from publishing the 
story, demanding that its editor withdraw the issue and pulp every copy. 
LM now faces a costly legal battle for insisting on its right to publish the 
truth. 



166 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



not a prison, and certainly not a "concentration camp," but a 
collection center for refugees, many of whom went there seek- 
ing safety and could leave again if they wished. 

The barbed wire in the picture is not around the Bosnian 
Muslims; it is around the cameraman and the journalists. It 
formed part of a broken-down barbed-wire fence encircling a 
small compound that was next to Tmopolje camp. The British 
news team filmed from inside this compound, shooting pictures 
of the refugees and the camp through the compound fence. In 
the eyes of many who saw them, the resulting pictures left the 
false impression that the Bosnian Muslims were caged behind 
barbed wire. 

Whatever the British news team's intentions may have 
been, their pictures were seen around the world as the first hard 
evidence of concentration camps in Bosnia. "The proof behind 
the barbed wire, the brutal truth about the suffering in Bosnia," 
announced the Daily Mail alongside a front-page reproduction 
of the picture from Tmopolje: "They are the sort of scenes that 
flicker in black and white images from fifty-year-old films of 
Nazi concentration camps. On the first anniversary of the 
pictures being taken, an article in the Independent could still use 
the barbed wire to make the Nazi link: "The camera slowly pans 
up the bony torso of the prisoner. It is the picture of famine, but 
then we see the barbed wire against his chest and it is the pic- 
ture of the Holocaust and concentration camps. 

Penny Marshall, Ian Williams, and Ed Vulliamy have 
never called Tmopolje a concentration camp. They have criti- 
cized the way that others tried to use their reports and pictures 
as "proof of a Nazi-style Holocaust in Bosnia. Yet over the 
past four and a half years, none of them has told the full story 
about that barbed-wire fence which made such an impact on 
world opinion. 

It was through my role as an expert witness to the War 
Crimes Tribunal that I first realized that something was wrong 
with the famous pictures from Tmopolje. As a joumalist with a 
track record of reporting on Bosnia, I was asked to present the 



THOMAS DEICHMANN 167 



tribunal with a report on German media coverage of Dusko 
Tadic, a Bosnian Serb accused of war crimes. Reviewing press 
articles and videotapes that had been shown on German TV, I 
became aware of the major importance of the Trnopolje pic- 
tures. The picture of Fikret Alic behind the barbed wire, taken 
by Penny Marshall's team, could be seen again and again. 

One night, while I was going through the pictures again 
at home, my wife pointed out an odd little detail. If Fikret Alic 
and the other Bosnian Muslims were imprisoned inside a 
barbed-wire fence, why was this wire fixed to poles on the side 
of the fence where they were standing? As any gardener knows, 
fences are, as a rule, fixed to the poles from outside, so that the 
area to be enclosed is fenced-in. It occurred to me then that 
perhaps it was not the people in the camp who were fenced-in 
behind the barbed wire, but the team of British journalists. 

My suspicions were heightened by a conversation I had 
with Professor Mischa Wladimiroflf, Dusko Tadic' s Dutch de- 
fense advocate at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. The 
main witness against Tadic, Dragan Opacic (later exposed as a 
trained liar), had told the court about the barbed-wire fence sur- 
rounding the camp at Trnopolje and had even made a drawing 
of where it was. But when Professor WladimirofF went to Bos- 
nia to investigate for the defense, it became clear to him that 
Opacic had lied in the witness box; he could find no evidence of 
a barbed-wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. 

I decided to go back to Bosnia, and to review the British 
news team's coverage of Trnopolje, in order to unravel the real 
story of how those pictures had come about. 

The British news team's trip to Bosnia in the summer of 
1 992 took place against a background of mounting hysteria, as 
the first reports claiming that the Bosnian Serbs were running 
brutal internment camps were published in the West. On July 
1 9, 1 992, the American journalist Roy Gutman wrote in News- 
day about the camp at Manjaca, and Andre Kaiser's pictures of 
prisoners with shaven heads at Manjaca were shown around the 
world. On July 29 in the Guardian, Maggie O'Kane quoted 



168 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



eyewitnesses who claimed tliat Muslims had been crammed into 
cattle cars and shipped off from Tmopolje station. On August 2 
Roy Gutman published another article in which he called the 
Bosnian Serb camp at Omarska a "death camp." Gutman's and 
O'Kane's articles drew heavily on hearsay and unconfirmed 
claims. Nevertheless, they caused an international sensation. 

When Marshall, Williams, and Vulliamy arrived in Bos- 
nia at the end of July 1992, they were under intense pressure to 
get the story of the camps. Roy Gutman's article about the 
"death camp" Omarska, published while the British team was in 
Bosnia, had further raised expectations in the London editorial 
offices. After her return, Penny Marshall told how she and Wil- 
liams had received orders from the managing editors of ITN and 
Channel 4 to do nothing else before they had the camps story in 
the bag; "They had set Ian Williams and myself loose with an 
open-ended brief to find and visit the detention camps, and with 
orders to file nothing until we had come up with the story."* 

As the end of their trip approached, however, the British 
news team had been unable to find the camps story they were 
after. Their final stop was to be the refugee camp at Tmopolje, 
next to the village of Kozarac which had been overrun by 
Bosnian Serb units a few months earlier in May 1992. This was 
to be their last chance to get the story their editors wanted. 

The pictures they shot at Tmopolje camp on August 5 
were edited in Budapest the next day, then sent to London and 
broadcast the same night. The broadcast centered on shots of 
the journalists talking to Fikret Alic and the group of Bosnian 
Muslims through the barbed wire. These were the pictures that 
were widely interpreted as evidence that the Muslims were 
penned behind a barbed-wire fence, and that the intemational 
media seized upon to make a symbolic link to the Nazi camps. 
But how did the British team get them? 

I have looked through the rest of the team's film from 
Tmopolje, at the pictures that were not broadcast. They reveal a 
lot more about the story. 



THOMAS DEICHMANN I 69 



The camp at Tmopolje consisted of buildings that had 
previously been a school, and a community center that housed a 
medical center and a public hall, alongside a large open area that 
had been a sports ground. The only fences around parts of the 
camp were little more than a meter high, of the kind you might 
find around any school or public building. The British news 
team was able to enter all areas of the refugee camp. They shot 
some pictures in the buildings. Their attention, however, fo- 
cused on a group of Muslims who had just been brought fi-om 
the camps in Keraterm close to Prijedor. They were waiting in 
the open air to be registered and given food and somewhere to 
sleep. 

To film these refiigees, Marshall and her cameraman Ir- 
vin entered a compound next to the camp area. Inside this small 
compound were a kind of garage shed, an electricity trans- 
former station, and a brick bam. Before the war, horticuhural 
products could be bought there and tractors and construction 
machinery had been housed in the bam. To protect all this fi-om 
thieves, the compound area of approximately five hundred 
square meters had been fenced in with barbed wire a couple of 
years before. The erection of the barbed-wire fence had nothing 
to do with the reftigees, the camp, or the war. The poles to 
which this barbed wire was attached are still standing today, and 
traces of the wire can be found on the west side of the com- 
pound. 

When Marshall, Williams, and Vulliamy entered the 
compound next to the camp, the barbed wire was already tom 
in several places. They did not use the open gate, but entered 
fi-om the south through a gap in the fence. They approached the 
fence on the north side, where curious refiigees quickly gath- 
ered inside the camp, but on the outside of the area fenced in by 
barbed wire. It was through the barbed-wire fence at this point 
that the famous shots of Fikret Alic were taken. 

The unused footage shows how cameraman Irvin 
zoomed through the compound's bar bed- wire fence firom vari- 
ous angles, apparently searching for the most dramatic shot. 



170 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Most of the refugees in the camp were marked by their experi- 
ence of the war, but few looked as emaciated as Fikret Alic. Yet 
he captured the camera's attention. 

On her return, Penny Marshall wrote in the Sunday 
Times that "Jeremy Irvin, our cameraman, knew he had come 
away with powerful images from Prijedor, but only when we 
screened them in our Budapest editing suite did we begin to 
sense their impact." Ed Vulliamy summarized this impact in his 
book. Seasons in Hell: "With his rib cage behind the barbed 
wire of Tmopolje, Fikret Alic had become the symbolic figure 
of the war, on every magazine cover and television screen in the 
world."' Mike Jeremy, ITN foreign editor, later called the pic- 
ture "one of the key images of the war in former Yugoslavia."^ 

Yet an important element of that "key image" had been 
produced by camera angles and editing. The other pictures, 
which were not broadcast, show clearly that the large area on 
which the refugees were standing was not fenced in with barbed 
wire. You can see that the people are free to move on the road 
and on the open area, and have already erected a few protective 
tents. Within the compound next door that is surrounded with 
barbed wire, you can see about fifteen people, including women 
and children, sitting under the shade of a tree. Penny Marshall's 
team were able to walk in and out of this compound to get their 
film, and the refugees could do the same as they searched for 
some shelter from the August sun. 

Another unpublished sequence on the tape shows Fikret 
Alic and the other refugees who had just arrived from a different 
angle. The cameraman is no longer inside the barbed-wire area, 
but about twenty meters to the west of it. From here it is obvi- 
ous that the refugees are not caged behind barbed wire. While 
they wait to be registered and told where to go, they are stand- 
ing behind an ordinary wire-mesh fence that is little more than a 
meter high, adjacent to the barbed wire. But these pictures did 
not make it on to the world's TV screens and front pages. 

When I visited Tmopolje in December I asked local 
people about the cmmp and the barbed wire. Dragan Baltic, sev- 



THOMAS DEICHMANN 



171 



enteen, went to school in Tmopolje until the spring of 1992. He 
is certain that, apart from the one around the small compound, 
"there has been no other barbed-wire fence." His nineteen-year- 
old sister, Dragana, now works in a refugee center in the 
school. Dragana confirms her brother's account. She adds that 
there was a metal fence about one meter high in front of and 
around the school building, to prevent the children from running 
on to the road. That fence can be seen on the ITN tapes. Refu- 
gees lean on it, others jump over it to enter the camp area. Dra- 
gana also remembers a small wire-mesh fence about 1.2 meters 
high, "as is used for keeping hens," running from the road up to 
the community center and adjacent to the barbed-wire fence. 
This wire-mesh fence, which stood before the war, can also be 
clearly seen on the ITN pictures. 

I met Pero Curguz in his office in Prijedor. He manages 
the regional Red Cross, and was stationed in Tmopolje during 
the operation of the refugee center. He was interviewed by the 
British journalists in August 1992. He says he told them that the 
people had come to the camp of their own free will for protec- 
tion. He told me that during the entire time of the operation of 
the camp, no fence had been erected. On the contrary: when the 
other camps in Keraterm and Omarska were closed, and 
Tmopolje became overcrowded with up to 7,500 people, the 
refugees had pulled down fences and taken all other available 
materials to build shelters. Curguz stressed that this was no in- 
temment or prisoner camp; it was a collecting camp for exiled 
Muslims. Everybody I spoke to confirmed that the refugees 
could leave the camp area at almost any time. 

When I showed the picture of Fikret Alic behind the 
barbed wire to people in Tmopolje, I saw always the same re- 
action: anger and disappointment. They had expected fair treat- 
ment from the Westem joumalists and had welcomed them. 
Veljko Grmusa and his family were exiled from Bosanska Bojna 
near Velika Kladusa and were assigned the house of an exiled 
Muslim in Tmopolje. In the middle of August 1992 he worked 
as a guard in the refugee center for a couple of days, before he 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



was sent to the front. He was glad when I told him that Fikret 
Alic had survived the war, but angry about this image. His wife, 
Milica, told me that she assisted in the camp by order of the lo- 
cal authorities during the war: "We wanted to help the journal- 
ists at that time, we had no idea how the Western newspapers 
work. Later we received orders not to talk any more with re- 
porters who could not produce a special authorization." 

Misa Radulovic, sixty-eight, was a teacher in Kozarac 
and Tmopolje. Now he walks with a stick and is nearly blind. 
But like all other men considered able-bodied, he was enlisted in 
the army during the war and stationed as a camp guard in 
Tmopolje for three days. "We protected the Muslims from Ser- 
bian extremists who wanted to take revenge," he said. "The 
people could leave the camp without papers, but this was dan- 
gerous. A barbed-wire fence existed only at this comer around 
the bam, this little shop for rural products and the electricity 
station." 

Without doubt most of the refugees in Tmopolje were 
undemourished. Civilians were harassed in the camp, and there 
were reports of some rapes and murders. Yet the irony is that, if 
this collection center for refugees had not existed under the su- 
pervision of Bosnian Serb soldiers, a far greater number of 
Muslim civilians might have lost their lives. 

The collection center was spontaneously created by 
refugees when the civil war escalated in the Prijedor region. In 
May 1992 Bosnian Serb forces took the town of Kozarac and 
drove its Bosnian Muslim occupants out, just as Serb and Croat 
civilians had been driven out of their homes elsewhere in the 
war zone. Many of the fleeing Muslims sought refuge on the 
school grounds at Tmopolje. They congregated there in the 
hope of avoiding being picked off by Bosnian Serb militia or 
press-ganged into the war by Bosnian Muslim forces. Many of 
the Bosnian Serb guards sent to the camp were local civilians, 
mobilized a few days before, who knew the refugees. And there 
was a permanent Red Cross presence under Pero Curguz, who 



THOMAS DEICHMANN 173 



told me that he, too, had met many old acquaintances in the 
camp. 

For all that, in the middle of a bloody war zone, the 
camp could never be completely safe. But many refugees pre- 
ferred to stay there rather than risk their lives outside. There are 
reports of refugees who left the camp briefly to visit their fields 
and homes, hoping to find food and belongings, and were never 
seen again. 

Paddy Ashdown, the British Liberal Democrat leader, 
visited the camps in Manjaca and Tmopolje a few days after 
Penny Marshall's team. Ashdown is no ally of the Bosnian 
Serbs, and had been a loud advocate of British military inter- 
vention in the conflict. Yet his impressions of Tmopolje, de- 
scribed in the Independent on August 13, 1992, struck a more 
sober note at a time of widespread hysteria about the camp: 
"They have gathered here because they have to go somewhere. 
Their houses have been burnt and their lives threatened. Muslim 
extremists pressurize the men to join up with the guerrillas, so 
they have come here for safety. But on most recent nights the 
unprotected camp has been raided by Serbian extremists who 
beat them, rob them of what little they have left and, it is 
claimed, rape the women. Things are better now." 

In the eyes of the world, however, the dramatic pictures 
of Fikret Alic apparently imprisoned behind barbed wire in 
Tmopolje had left the impression that the Bosnian Serbs were 
running Nazi-style camps. This set the tone for the coverage 
that followed. Misa Radulovic told me that, after the British 
team visited Tmopolje, other Westem joumalists came to the 
camp: "Every one of them wanted to see only the front part of 
the camp area and take pictures of the most emaciated bodies. I 
had a dispute with a journalist and requested him to take his 
pictures somewhere else, for example in the school building. 
But he did not want to enter it." 

Ed Vulliamy's first article on Tmopolje was published in 
the Guardian on August 7, 1992, the morning after the ITN 
pictures had been broadcast for the first time. Vulliamy had 



I 74 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



probably not seen the edited ITN broadcast when he wrote it. 
This article did not mention the barbed-wire fence, and stated 
that Tmopolje should not be called a concentration camp. Vul- 
liamy presented quite a balanced view of the situation in the 
camp, quoting Muslim refugees who reported that no force had 
been used against them, that the place offered them a certain 
security, and that they would not know where to go otherwise. 

However, by the time Vulliamy came to describe his im- 
pressions of Trnopolje in his 1994 book. Seasons in Hell, the 
Guardian reporter's tone had changed. The barbed wire that he 
had not considered worth mentioning in his first article had now 
become the focus of attention. In his book, Vulliamy described 
his first impressions of Tmopolje in these terms: "More dirt 
tracks, more burned villages, and finally what was formerly a 
school in its own grounds, and another startling, calamitous 
sight: a teeming, multitudinous compound surrounded by 
barbed-wire fencing."' 

The tone of some of Vulliamy's discussions with local 
people also seemed to have changed between his original report 
and his later writings on Tmopolje. For instance, Inar Gnoric, a 
Bosnian Muslim, told Vulliamy that she had come to Tmopolje 
of her own will, seeking safety. In the Guardian article of 
August 1992, Vulliamy quoted her as saying that "The condi- 
tions are very hard here, but there was terrible fighting and we 
had no food at all. It is safer here, but we don't know what kind 
of status we have. We are refugees, but there are guards and the 
wire fence." What fence she was talking about is not clear. In 
Vulliamy's book, however, Gnoric clearly talks of a barbed-wire 
fence around the camp. 

Penny Marshall did mention the barbed-wire fence in the 
first report she wrote after returning from Tmopolje, published 
in the Sunday Times. ^ About her first visit to the camp she sim- 
ply wrote that "Outside was barbed wire." Describing her sec- 
ond visit to the camp in the same article, she noted that 
"Outside, the camp had changed in the week since our original 
report. The barbed-wire fence had been removed and the Serbi- 



THOMAS DEICHMANN I 75 



ans had left building materials for the prisoners to make shel- 
ters." 

This was true; the barbed-wire fence (and the ordinary 
wire-mesh fences) that Marshall's cameraman had shot during 
the first visit had indeed been removed before her return. But 
Penny Marshall had left open the question of precisely where- 
abouts "outside" the barbed-wire fence had been located. She 
thus failed to correct the false interpretation that so many peo- 
ple had placed upon the pictures. Similarly, Ed Vulliamy wrote 
in his book that "Four days after our visit to Tmopolje, the 
fence came down."' This left untouched the impression that had 
settled in the public mind — that the camp had been fenced in 
with barbed wire. 

A year after the ITN pictures were first broadcast, 
Penny Marshall reacted to the suggestion that her report might 
have been sensationalist: "I bent over backwards, I showed 
guards — Bosnian Serb guards — feeding the prisoners. I showed 
a small Muslim child who had come of his own volition. I didn't 
call them death camps. I was incredibly carefiil, but again and 
again we see that image being used."'" Despite her plea of ob- 
jectivity, however, she did not explain how "that image" of Fik- 
ret Alic behind barbed wire had been produced by her team. 

In a German television program, "Kozarac — Ethnically 
Cleansed," broadcast on October 11, 1993, Marshall told Ger- 
man movie producer Monika Gras about the impact of the 
Trnopolje picture: "That picture of that barbed wire and these 
emaciated men made alarm bells ring across the whole of 
Europe. I believe that the report would not have caused such a 
reaction had it been transmitted without that picture, although 
the facts would have been the same." Marshall said that the 
Bosnian Serbs did not know how to deal with the Western 
press: "It was a PR mistake in the Bosnian Serbs' terms." She 
did not mention her team making any mistakes in their presen- 
tation of the Tmopolje story. 

The notion that there was a barbed-wire fence around 
Trnopolje camp, and the comparison with Nazi concentration 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



camps, have been widely accepted as matters of fact. "When the 
first journalists had arrived there a few days earlier, barbed wire 
surrounded the place and there was no welcoming banner," Pe- 
ter Maass wrote in Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, about 
his visit to Tmopolje in the late summer of 1992. "I walked 
through the gates and couldn't quite believe what I saw. There, 
right in firont of me, were men who looked like survivors of 
Auschwitz." Marshall, Williams, and Vulliamy have not used 
such language themselves. But neither have they corrected the 
false interpretation of the picture of Fikret Alic apparently im- 
prisoned behind the barbed wire. 

When the ITN pictures of Tmopolje were broadcast 
around the world, they sparked widespread calls for the Bosnian 
Serbs to close the camps. Sir John Thomson, head of a Confer- 
ence on Security and Cooperation in Europe investigation 
committee in Bosnia, warned the West against leaping to pre- 
mature conclusions: "If some camps were just opened, I have 
the impression some of the prisoners would not get very far — 
there would be nearby graves."'^ But the international pressure 
on the Bosnian Serbs had already had its effect. 

Omarska camp, which the ITN team had also filmed, 
was shut down in August 1 992, and most of the refugees from 
there along with other Muslims from Keraterm and Manjaca 
were taken to Tmopolje, which was transformed from a refugee 
camp into a transition camp in a couple of days. The Intema- 
tional Committee of the Red Cross complained that, thanks to 
the global excitement caused by the ITN reports, every chance 
had been lost to attain a solution which would allow the Mus- 
lims to remain in the region. On October 1, 1992, the first big 
Red Cross convoy set off from Tmopolje to ship 1,560 refugees 
over the border into Croatia. In a sense, the exile of thousands 
of Muslims from their home in Bosnia-Herzegovina was thus 
inadvertently facilitated by the intemational reaction to the ITN 
reports from Tmopolje. 

Roused by the pictures, British Prime Minister John 
Major summoned' cabinet colleagues back from holiday for an 



THOMAS DEICHMANN I 77 



emergency meeting. Shortly afterwards, his government an- 
nounced that British troops would be sent into Bosnia. In the 
U.S., where the 1992 presidential election campaign was in full 
swing. Democratic Party candidate Bill Clinton and running 
mate Al Gore used the ITN pictures to demand that President 
George Bush take military action against the Bosnian Serbs. In 
Brussels, meanwhile, NATO staff responded by planning a 
military intervention in the Balkans. 

The pictures of Fikret Alic in Tmopolje were also to 
influence the work of the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, 
set up by the UN Security Council to prosecute those accused 
of atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal has relied 
heavily on the report of an expert commission, led by Frits 
Karlshoven, who was later replaced by Cherif Bassiouni. The 
report, published in the summer of 1994, mentions the barbed- 
wire fence in Tmopolje in several places. Although the report is 
full of contradictions, it does state clearly in Annex V, "The 
Prijedor Report," that "The camp was surrounded by barbed 
wire, and a number of camp guards watched the detainees." The 
same chapter describes Tmopolje as a Serbian concentration 
camp: "Albeit Logor Tmopolje was not a death camp like 
Logor Omarska or Logor Keraterm, the label 'concentration 
camp' is nonetheless justified for Logor Tmopolje due to the 
regime prevailing in the camp." As a source for this chapter, Ed 
Vulliamy's book Seasons in Hell is referenced several times. 

The story of the barbed-wire fence played a prominent 
part in the trial of the Bosnian Serb Dusko Tadic, the first case 
heard before the War Crimes Tribunal. Tadic was accused by 
witness "L," later revealed as Dragan Opacic, of committing 
atrocities at Tmopolje. On August 15, 1996, Opacic made a 
drawing in the courtroom to show how the barbed wire fenced 
in the camp area. Questioned by the British defense attomey 
Stephen Kay, he insisted that the barbed-wire fence had en- 
closed the entire camp. 

By the end of October 1 996, however, the accusations 
against Tadic with regard to Tmopolje had been dropped; the 



I 78 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



prosecution's main witness, Opacic, had been exposed as a liar 
trained to make false statements by the Bosnian authorities. 
Opacic finally broke down and admitted his deceit when con- 
fi-onted by his father, whom he earlier claimed had been killed in 
the war. Tadic's Dutch defense advocate. Professor Wladimi- 
roff, told me that he interviewed Dragan Opacic the day after he 
was exposed as a liar. Opacic said that the police in Sarajevo 
had schooled him for the witness box by repeatedly showing 
him videotapes of Dusko Tadic and of Tmopolje, which he 
scarcely knew. Prominent among these tapes were the pictures 
from ITN which were supposed to show Muslims imprisoned 
behind the barbed-wire fence. 

Ed Vulliamy himself was also invited by the prosecution 
to give evidence in the trial of Dusko Tadic. In June 1996, Vul- 
liamy gave the War Crimes Tribunal his impressions of 
Tmopolje, which he described as a refugee and transition camp. 
Much of his evidence was accompanied by the ITN videotapes. 
But when Vulliamy came to the point where the barbed wire 
and Fikret Alic were shown on screen, he asked the judges to 
switch the tape off while he described the news team's meeting 
with the refugees: "I am going to describe who was behind the 
wire with the video off because I can do it better if I am not 
trying to accompany the picture." Why did Vulliamy not want 
the court to see this impressive sequence? 

' Daily Mirror, 7 August 1992. 
^ Daily Mail, 7 August 1992. 
^ Independent, 5 August 1993. 

Sunday Times, 16 August 1992. 
' Ed Vulliamy, Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia 's war (New York: 
St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dumie Books, 1994), p. 202. 

* Independent, 5 August 1993. 
' Vulliamy, 106. 

* Sunday Times, 16 August 1992. 
' Vulliamy, p. 113. 

^° Independent, 5 August 1993. 

" Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), 
p. 41. . 
Guardian, 5 September 1992. 



1 0 Media complicity 

in a scripted 
Balkan tragedy 

Lenora Foerstel 

"If the media can influence public opinion and determine political 
decisions of the international community on key foreign policy 
issues, then the same media which belmgs to certain nations and 
warring sides — by way of fabricated reports on actual or alleged 
actions— can become the most efficient instruments in achieving 
certain military and political goals. "' 

By fallaciously attributing the breakup of Yugoslavia to 
"aggressive nationalism," the inevitable result of deep-seated ethnic 
and religious tensions rooted in history, the Western media served 
as a "Second Front" for German and U.S. involvement in the 
Balkans. The U.S. and Germany view Albania, Macedonia, 
Bulgaria, Romania, Moldava, and the Ukraine as areas for future 
economic control. Germany has once more embraced its World 
War n goal of carving up Europe, this time using an economic 
strategy. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Chancellor Helmut Kohl 
gained the opportunity to reunite the two parts of Germany and to 
formulate policy which would make Germany the dominant power 
in Europe. 

Under the pretense of ensuring peace in the Balkans, the 
U.S. has used NATO troops to establish a wall of containment 



180 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



around Yugoslavia, forging military bonds with every country that 
borders Yugoslavia. Hungary, Romania, Macedonia and Albania 
are all participants in NATO's Partnership for Peace, the U.S.- 
designed program for joint training and military ties. The U.S. 
provides Croatia and the Bosnian Muslims with military advisors, 
arms and training. 

Germany and the U.S. are supporting a project "to build a 
new Balkan highway atop an ancient Roman road, the Via Egnatia, 
from the port city of Durres in Albania to Istanbul."^ This will open 
up better access to the Adriatic, Aegean and Black seas, and 
according to U.S. analysis, will break Serbia's monopoly on 
transportation links to the Middle East. 

Despite clear evidence that Serbia has been devastated by 
the American-led military action and economic boycott, the media 
continue to characterize Serbia as a powerful military threat to 
other Balkan countries. This has become the rationale for U.S. 
military industries to make huge profits by selling weapons to the 
Eastern European countries. The U.S. is considering the sale of 
F-16 fighter aircraft to the Polish government. According to the 
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. has sold 
four C-130B Hercules military planes and five AN/F PS-1 17 sur- 
veillance radar units worth $82 million to Romania. "Romania has 
signed an agreement with Bell Helicopter Textron to begin produc- 
ing AH- IF Cobra attack helicopters for the Romanian armed forces 
to be carried out between 1999 and 2005." ^ 

NATO's plans to incorporate such nations as Poland, Hun- 
gary and the Czech Republic are seen by Russia as a wall of con- 
tainment similar to the one around Yugoslavia. Russia is well aware 
that NATO is mainly an instrument of the U.S. Treasury and De- 
fense departments. Instead of guaranteeing peace, NATO's further 
military expansion to the east, according to Russia's Minister of 
Defense Igor Rodionov, "would doom arms control treaties with 
the West and resurrect zones of confrontation in Europe.'"* Rodi- 
onov has also suggested that "Moscow might respond by targeting 
nuclear missiles at East European countries that join the alliance." 



LENORA FOERSTEL I 81 



Even as these confrontations pose serious threats to world 
peace, Western soldiers make headlines as peace enforcers in the 
Balkans. What goes unmentioned is the role played by Western 
leaders to help bring the Yugoslav economy to its knees and make 
the Balkans into a safe haven for a market economy. At a news 
conference in Brussels on January 11, 1997, Assistant Secretary of 
State John Komblum announced a U.S. "four point plan." The 
plan, which is not backed by the European Union, would freeze 
U.S. trade and official relations with Serbia and harden international 
pressure on the Milosevic government. The plan would also target 
"structural obstacles" in the Serbian economy. Although those ob- 
stacles were not spelled out, it can be assumed that any loans from 
the World Bank would be granted under the International Mone- 
tary Fund (IMF) Structural Adjustment policies. These policies are 
a set of "free market" rules imposed primarily on Third World 
countries as a condition for receiving assistance — with privatization 
being a categorical imperative. 

In an interview with Germany's Stem magazine, Komblum 
characterized Bulgaria and Serbia as having "nondemocratic com- 
mand economies" — meaning planned economies. Komblum added 
that the U.S. will approve an assistance program that would help 
"independent" media in Serbia. Earlier, State Department spokes- 
man Nicholas Bums announced that Washington will permit the 
Voice of America (VOA) to broadcast news programs through the 
independent Serbian radio station B-29. VOA, the intemational 
radio service of the U.S. Infomiation Agency, broadcasts in fifty- 
two languages and claims eighty-six million listeners per week 
worldwide. 

In Eastem European countries, the first institutions to un- 
dergo the transition to privatization seem to be the media, both in 
ownership and content. Western capital helps to subsidize the me- 
dia in Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slova- 
kia. The political views which are reported are virtually indistin- 
guishable from those of the U.S. media. Blitz, a newspaper funded 
by German capital, appeared in Serbia on September 16, 1996. The 
paper, which at nineteen cents is the cheapest in the country, sells 



182 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



raffle tickets and gives away cars. Within a month after its first 
printing, Blitz had a circulation of 100,000.' "This process of mov- 
ing toward a pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist ideological monopoly is 
described straight-faced by U.S. leaders and media commentators 
as the 'democratization of Eastern Europe.' " * 

The highly publicized Yugoslav opposition movement Za- 
jedno (Together) has cooperated openly with Western economic 
interests. U.S. and German flags can be seen at all of the Together 
rallies. Vick Drashovic and Zoran Djindjic, the leaders of Zajedno, 
have close ties to the West. Drashovic has advocated the return of 
Yugoslavia to a monarchy. Djindjic was characterized by Desimir 
Tosic, a co-founder of Yugoslavia's Democratic Party, as a "dema- 
gogue without scruples." 

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the demise of the Soviet 
Union, and the breakup of Yugoslavia, the U.S. has made large 
investments in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The Overseas Pri- 
vate Investment Corporation (OPIC), for example, is an independ- 
ent agency of the U.S. government which advertises itself as pro- 
moting economic growth in developing countries. OPIC assists in 
financing investment through direct loans or loan guarantees and 
insures these investments against a broad range of political risks. 
OPIC is operating in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, 
Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Ma- 
cedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In theory, 
OPIC, like other U.S. agencies, is committed to strengthening U.S. 
markets overseas and the economies of the countries they invest in. 
"In practice, however, they are scouts for corporate bonanzas, and 
vehicles for attracting paybacks to whatever party is in power in 
Washington." ' 

In 1994, OPIC itself turned a profit of $167 million on re- 
payment of its loans. U.S. agencies and corporations make huge 
profits, but little of that wealth is felt by the citizens of the assisted 
countries or by the U.S. citizens whose taxes keep these agencies 
going 

Like the U.S., Germany is collecting dividends fi"om the 
new European order. They have expanded their political and eco- 



LENORA FOERSTEL I 83 



nomic influence throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe, be- 
coming the Czech Republic's biggest trading partner and one of its 
largest sources of direct investments. Thirty percent of all plants in 
Slovenia and the Czech Republic now belong to German compa- 
nies. In addition, Germans own the greatest part of the Croatian 
hotel industry on the Adriatic coast. They have bought from Zagreb 
many islands and beaches in exchange for arms." * 

With the demise of Eastern Europe's planned economies 
we have seen the use of ideologies that promote privatization and a 
class system that stimulates nationalism, racism, and zenophobia. 
Right-wing racist violence and marches for racial purity have again 
appeared in Germany and Croatia. In Hungary, the Hungarian 
Democratic Forum (MDE) holds an ideological view which is close 
to fascism. These various extremist parties and organizations trace 
their origins to the pre- World War II political movements which 
precipitated the war. The emerging right-wing in the Eastern Euro- 
pean countries seeks a limited governmental role for the distribu- 
tion of resources but favors authoritarian modes of rule. "On the 
issue of collective decision procedures, the extreme right puts little 
faith in pluralism and democratic institutions, preferring not only 
corporate solutions, but veering oflf into outright state-corporatist 
modes (a situation where the state actually creates certain interest 
groups, defining their legal relationship with the state)." ' 

The U.S. and Germany prepared plans for the dismember- 
ment of Yugoslavia in the late 1980s. Both countries have since 
worked to reconfigure the Balkans into a Croatian-dominated, 
Germany-dependent group of mini-states, a situation which opened 
the way to the recolonization of the region. The American press 
coverage of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia focused on 
"ethnic cleansing" while ignoring the history of the region and 
Germany's role in aiding the secession of Croatia and Slovenia 
from the Yugoslav federation. 

Most of the world's people receive their news through 
Western news networks and sources. The Atlanta-based Cable 
News Network (CNN) currently reaches over one hundred coun- 
tries. Reuters TV, Worldwide Television News, and the Associated 



184 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Press TV, the world's largest television news companies, are West- 
em corporations which provide television news coverage to sta- 
tions all over the world. The four largest international news agen- 
cies — Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), 
Agence France-Press (AFP), and Reuters — are Western, with the 
first two being American. 

The homogeneous, Western-oriented presentation of the 
news prevents real analysis and alternative points of view. As a re- 
sult, most readers/viewers have little grasp of the wider political 
context in which to make sense of world events. A more demo- 
cratic use of the media will require a more balanced flow of infor- 
mation and opinions and a greater diversity of perspectives. 

' Z. Ivanovic, The Media War Against the Serbs (Belgrade: Republic of 
Serbia Ministry of Information, Tanjug News Agency, May 1994), p. 5. 
^ J. Pomfret, Washington Post, 19 December 1996, p. A-28. 
' Ibid. 

" W. Drozdiak, Washington Post, 19 December 1996, p. A-29. 

' J. Pomfret, Washington Post, 27 November 1996, p. A-25. 

* M.P. Parenti, "Free Market Media in Eastern Europe," Lies of Our Times, 

September 1990, p. 112. 

' J. FeflFer, "The Browning of Russia," Covert Action Quarterly, Spring 
1996, #56, p. 43. 

' E.H. Solano, "German Fingers in the Yugoslav Crisis" in The Media War 
Against the Serbs, op. cit. , p. 64. 

' T.S. Szayna, The Rise of the Extreme Right in Post-Communist Central 
Europe, Document No. DRU-153 RC (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Publica- 
tions, January 1993), p. 7. 



1 1 New and old disorder 



Nadja Tesich* 



Ultimately I am talking about fascism of a different sort, but I 
cannot write about fascism in a few pages. It would take at least 
a book. For the purpose of this essay I'll limit myself to the 
propaganda against the Serbs these past four years. And my 
own experience — not just as a writer, filmmaker, professor of 
film, but as a person who observed events, people, the war it- 
self, often risking my life. 

When the civil war started in 1991, I went back. I had 
decided that if what I saw in the papers about Serbia was true, 
then I'd never go back again. I was bom there, but I have lived 
in the United States most of my life. 

What I saw was a drastically different image from the 
one in the U.S. press: people crying about the breakup of 
Yugoslavia, the wounded, the refugees from Slavonia, and the 
first very mutilated kids in the hospitals. I speak the language, I 
could move in and out, listen unobserved. These were not the 
people described as barbarians in the Times. The Times re- 
porter, Chuck Sudetic, would set the tone, a man whose back- 
ground was Croatian. The essential thing is that prior to this, he 
had a top security job in Washington. I didn't know this at the 
time, I just knew something was wrong about his reporting. 



' The first part of this article was deUvered as a speech in October 1995 to 
a New York teach-in on Bosnia sponsored by the International Action 
Center. 



186 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Back in New York, I attempted to correct this informa- 
tion — what was true, what was lies — but largely I tried to add 
the missing parts of the picture. Always with names and events 
that could be checked. Without attacking any other group, I 
tried to talk about the suffering on the Serb side. The embargo 
that turns the country into an economic concentration camp, 
factories shut, hospitals without spare parts, doctors without 
plastic gloves, operations with no anesthesia, lack of medicine, 
kids dying because of the embargo, along with old people and 
those not so old. When I reported these things, I was called a 
nationalist. 

I contacted most of the papers, most of the women's 
magazines, television stations including PBS, Nightline, Time, 
Newsweek, Vanity Fair, the Times magazine section. Mother 
Jones, Harper 's, the New Yorker, etc. Nobody wanted to hear 
about doctors, or ordinary people, or about a woman called 
Azra from a Muslim background who goes to Belgrade every 
year from Florida. Nobody wanted to hear about Croatians liv- 
ing in Belgrade or the real story of how three women, me in- 
cluded — Muslim, Croat, and Serb — traveled together to a fu- 
neral in a village in western Serbia. This was too peaceful for 
them, not exciting enough. They wanted to hear about rapes. 
(Got any rape stories, we want to hear about rapes.) But the 
moment I mentioned Serb women raped, they were not inter- 
ested. 

My letter against the embargo of any of the ethnic 
groups in Yugoslavia appeared in the Times badly mutilated. All 
the references to Germany and the U.S. were cut, as well as ref- 
erences to Cuba, and to U.S. weapons sales. It was the only 
letter published even though I wrote many. An essay of mine 
appeared in The Nation because it was about theater in Bel- 
grade. Every detail in it was checked for accuracy. 

My brother Steve Tesich was the author of many plays 
and screenplays — Four Friends, Eyewitness, The World Ac- 
cording to Garp, and Breaking Away, which received an Oscar. 
Yet his essays on Yugoslavia were not published here, nor were 



NADJA TESICH I 87 



thousands of letters written by Americans — historians, anthro- 
pologists who knew the Serbs and Serbia. 

Films about Serbia were not shown, not those made by 
Americans nor those made by documentary filmmakers in Bel- 
grade. Footage done by an American woman fi-om Channel 2 — 
Amy Bodden — about refugees and badly scared kids, done 
without a single cut, with her present in every shot, with my si- 
multaneous translation, nobody wanted to see. Nobody wanted 
to see a half-hour interview with Karadzic, even though I of- 
fered to do the same half-hour films with the same questions 
with Mr. Izetbegovic and with the Croatian leader in Bosnia. 
When I spoke on the radio about U.S. advisors and the CIA in 
Bosnia, I was called a communist. 

My only pleasure was that they knew I was there 
watching. I would find my words used by some of them in the 
interviews on TV If I push hard, if I annoy them, I get letters 
back. Sometimes they get angry, then lose control when I call 
and give me very valuable information. I try to enjoy even that 
tiny bit — I made them angry. Still, on a given day it's a lonely 
struggle. You grow desperate. I would tell them then, for the 
hell of it, what their reporter is doing, where and who he sleeps 
with. I suggested a piece for the Village Voice called, "How to 
spot Serbs on the subway." 

I could talk about American journalists in Belgrade who 
often didn't even know where they were. They wanted someone 
to tell them fast, fast in fifteen minutes about history and the 
people, but they didn't really need anything since they knew 
fi-om day one what they would write. It was easy. Many carried 
a sheet fi-om Ruder Finn that told them who is the good and 
who the bad guy. 

In this war, journalists abdicated — or let's say they 
wanted to keep their jobs. The honest ones were barred from 
their papers. I learned much about journalism, what gets 
printed, what not, and much about propaganda and American 
culture at this moment. I lived as if in wartime, gathering infor- 



I8B 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



mation from short-wave radios and from all sorts of people — in 
Texas, France, Sweden. 

My telephone bills were huge. And as in wartime, things 
happened. My family united vis a vis the U.S. bombs. We 
stopped arguing about politics. And as in wartime, some friends 
left me, others I divorced. All sorts of middle-class liberals of 
Manhattan's Upper West Side who didn't want to hear a single 
detail after my many trips but would ask instead, "Do you think 
Belgrade should be bombed?" I realized I was confronting 
something unprecedented in my experience, a new type of dicta- 
torship, deadly because invisible, subtle, like a virus. It's a part 
of the air and culture you breathe. It's there even when you 
sleep. I call it the dictatorship of the new world order. 

In order for the Pentagon and NATO to accomplish 
their aim, they had to, together with Germany, destabilize the 
country, put Yugoslavia under embargo, bomb the Bosnian 
Serbs with clean bombs, killing nobody. Right. Eliminate the 
entire community of Serbs in Krajina who have lived there for 
centuries — but first they had to create an enemy in the American 
mind so it would look like a fight of good against evil, the West 
fighting savages, barbarians, and everyone would cheer, feel 
good and hate collectively as a replacement for suppressed ha- 
treds here in America's own civil wars. 

The image was done in ten days. Good Christian, God- 
loving Slovenes, or Croats, in a family setting or church, and the 
Serbs looking like fescists and with a gun. Later, Muslims in 
Bosnia were added as good and Western, too, people who are 
just like you and me, and they play the piano. A Serb was a 
male, without women, children, or church. Later his face almost 
disappeared and he remained as an evil presence, except when 
shown as a rapist or criminal. 

"We had a job to do and we did it. We are not paid to 
moralize," said James Harflf, director of Ruder Finn Global Pub- 
lic Affairs, a Washington, DC, public relations firm that was 
paid to turn Serbs into monsters, fascists, and beasts. "Speed is 
vital," he said, "it«is the first assertion that counts. All denials 



NADjA TESICH I 89 



are entirely ineffective." Any means were good. Remember, tliis 
could happen again to any other group. 

As in advertising or audience research for a movie, you 
know your target, your aim, you know this country's obsessions 
and fears (sex and violence), and you keep it going either as 
psycho-drama or a soap opera. Everyone looks the same in 
Yugoslavia so you can use dead or massacred Serbs and claim 
they are others. Images of dead Serbs are called Muslims or 
Croats by the time they reach New York, although they were 
something else in some European papers and in the original 
photos. But the essential thing is how long you show the image. 
An entire community of Krajina Serbs disappears in four days, 
while Sarajevo goes on for three years. Croatia takes over one 
third of the territory in one day and it's over. A few protesting 
letters appear. It only proves how democratic the U.S. is. 
Meanwhile, entire villages disappear and nobody here knows. 

It helps that Americans don't know the country or the 
history, so that too can be rewritten. Serbs who fought against 
fascism, who saw so many die, exterminated in the camp at 
Jasenovac, are now lying about it, we are told. President Clinton 
invites Mr. Tudjman to the inaugural of the museum for Holo- 
caust victims but not a single Serb survivor is permitted to be 
there, even though the present state of Croatia borders on fas- 
cism and Mr. Tudjman says the Holocaust never happened and 
that Jews really killed those Serbs in the Jasenovac camp be- 
cause the Jews wanted their money. And here are Tudjman and 
Clinton looking happy together. America always was comfort- 
able with fascism. 

It helps that Americans have short memories. The New 
York Times prints that Bosnian Serbs owned 64 percent of the 
land. Then a few months later you are told that they conquered 
75 percent. It doesn't add up but nobody pays any attention. 
Everything gets erased and chewed up, no past or future, just 
profit now. Whole landscapes disappear, and cultures, and no- 
body pays much attention, nobody remembers that America 
killed millions of Vietnamese and then recently said it's time for 



190 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



US to forgive them. Nobody remembers Chile, Panama, Guate- 
mala, El Salvador, etc., etc. And they won't remember Yugo- 
slavia either, after they helped destroy it. This is a nation run by 
psychopaths. We are in the new world order. 

From a PR agency hired by Croatia, then by Muslim 
Bosnia, with huge budgets that include funding from outside, 
secret bank accounts (America, Germany and even the Vatican), 
with the help of Washington, the image machine goes to the 
main newspapers. By the time it reaches TV, the words 
"presumed guilty" are dropped. Instead it says, "The New York 
Times reports. " That makes it legitimate. 

The headlines are against the Serbs even when the article 
is supposed to be about their suffering. 

In all this, the other side is not permitted to speak. It 
looks like a jury for a Black man who has no lawyer, his mouth 
is taped shut, the jury is all white, and some are members of the 
KJan. 

Experts and false witnesses appear. Gelb, Lewis, and 
Eagleburger, all three at once on PBS. Bomb Belgrade, Gelb 
wrote one day, and then became an expert on TV Eagleburger 
said, I want to wipe the smile off the face of all Serbs. He be- 
came an expert, too. 

The CIA becomes a reliable informer on TV and in the 
press. They are there whenever it's needed. They have pictures 
taken from planes of the Bosnian Muslim graves — but not a 
single picture of Serbs from Krajina walking on foot in the ter- 
rible heat and bombed in addition from planes. Of course not. 
The CIA is part of the cleanup. 

American witnesses appear, like the CIA, for credibility. 
Fake stories in women's magazines, fake documentaries. Like 
the one narrated by an American nurse on Channel 7. We don't 
know where she is or who she is. It's enough that she is Ameri- 
can. She talks about rapes and she cries. 

An American journalist narrates in a montage of a few 
shots how he has discovered mass graves. We don't see his 



NADjA TESICH I 9 I 



face, at all. Bianca Jagger becomes an expert on Bosnia. She 
cries too. 

Slavenka Drakulic, a journalist from Zagreb and a small- 
time opportunist, uses the Times for a piece about thousands 
upon thousands of rapes which she could not have witnessed. 
Besides, her dialogue is bad. A ten-year-old girl does not talk 
like a fifty-year-old woman. I used to teach dialogue and 
screenplays. 

By the time the correction is done, by an independent 
group of doctors, this is only a few lines in the Times that no- 
body sees. The figure of twenty thousand victims was based on 
actual interviews with only four people. 

On the radio, new specialists — all Americans — talk 
about how the Ottoman Empire was wonderful to everyone. 

The staged massacres in Sarajevo get a splash, but not 
the investigation of them, nor the result. It occurs to me that 
maybe it was the CIA who did the job. It wouldn't be the first 
time, after all. 

The massacres appeared always before an important step 
the U.S. would take against Serbia and the Serbs. The last mas- 
sacre becomes the reason why NATO or the U.S. must bomb 
Bosnian Serbs in an unprecedented orgy of missions, yet NATO 
decided on it two days before the massacre. They lie on and on, 
but nobody really pays attention because we are in the new 
world order. 

Words like genocide, ethnic cleansing, camps are there 
to produce an emotional response, yet they actually whitewash 
the real genocides done to Serbs and Jews in the Second World 
War. In fact, the first ethnic cleansing was done to Serbs in 
Western Slavonia at the beginning of the current war, and the 
biggest cleansing was the U.S. -CIA-Croatia united effort 
against Serbs in Krajina. Two hundred thousand people. Hun- 
dreds dying in the heat. And what do you call thousands of 
missions against Bosnian Serbs, the largest military operation in 
Europe since World War II? What do we know about the num- 



192 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



ber of dead? Zero. It's called "low collateral damage" by the 
Pentagon. 

The word "Western" appears all the time in the U.S. 
media. The good is Western. Western is honest and clean. What 
is the other? I ask New York Times correspondent Steven Kin- 
zer, from whom I took pictures as we ran to interview Bosnian 
Serb refugees from Sarajevo who looked like the dead dug up. 
Why is it, I ask him, that Croatia — which he says borders on 
fascism — is called a democracy and Belgrade is called a dicta- 
torship? Belgrade at that time — in 1992 — looked like anarchy: 
hundreds of opinions, twenty different parties. He said, Ameri- 
cans think of them as Western and you not. 

What is Western? NATO is. Germany is, and so is the 
U.S. The East is sly, they lie and they cheat. Serbs lie all the 
time, according to the U.S. media. In Nazi propaganda, Jews 
lied and raped Christian virgins, too, but there is more to this. 
German fascism and American racism unite at some point. Van- 
ity Fair gives me a clue in an essay on how Serbs make love. 
They do it with savagery, the entire hotel shakes and he, the 
writer, just suffers from jealousy and horror listening to their 
screams. Those savages are interrupting his sleep. So, a Serb is 
a male with no mother or father, no wife or kids, he has no cul- 
ture, plays no piano, and rapes thousands. Does this remind you 
of anything? Who is the rapist in the American racist mind? The 
answer is given to me. People I have known for many years and 
those I have not known asked me where I was from in Yugo- 
slavia. Serbia, I said. 

You don't look like them, they would say, stepping 
back, looking scared or embarrassed. None of these people had 
ever been to Yugoslavia. Why, I asked finally. You are nice, 
they say. You mean civilized, I ask. Well yes, and you are so 
fair, you could be a German or a Swede. 

It occurred to me then that Serbs, who look the same as 
the other groups in Yugoslavia, were actually dark in the 
American mind. I can't decide if this darkness was internal or 
some other or both at the same time. 



NAD}A TESICH I 93 



While all this went on, Croatians thanked Germany and 
America now, Bosnian Muslims kept crying oh America come 
help, please help, we are really Western just like you, while the 
Serbs kept moaning oh America why don't you love us, we 
fought fascism together. In spite of all the misery that the em- 
bargo has done to present Yugoslavia, I think they are ahead 
now because they know America does not love them. Ulti- 
mately America loves nobody, not even their own children. Or 
there would be money for schools without rats, no leaking 
roofs, money for hospitals, money for life instead of prisons 
here and death with those billion dollars worth of perfect clean 
killing machines in Bosnia. 

I am glad the Serbs' and my mother's romance with the 
American dream is over. It never really existed or it was a Hol- 
lywood production that the country dumps like its garbage all 
over the world. You can destroy with it, you can kill entire cul- 
tures, but that's a whole other story. 

***** 

January 1997* 

In Belgrade, anti-government demonstrations have contin- 
ued into the fourth week. Nothing in the New York Times or on 
television presents a coherent picture — but that's no different from 
the rest of the reporting on the civil war these last years. 

I want to approach this subject from the point of view of 
being a writer, filiiunaker, media specialist, and a "U.S. watcher" 
for many years. My views are different from most Americans and 
most Yugoslavs because I know more, and am not easily disturbed 
by superficial elements or easy words. My background helps — I 
was bom in Serbia and have returned there every year, and I have 



' This piece emerged out of an interview conducted by Samori Marksman 
of New York radio station WBAI-FM in December 1996 and a discussion a 
few weeks later at the International Action Center among three Yugoslavs 
from Serbia and five Americans attempting to figure out what was going 
on in Belgrade. 



194 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



also lived in France and in New York City most of my adult life. 
And most of my adult life, as a participant and an observer, I have 
opposed U.S. aggressions, murders, embargoes, wars. Some hid- 
den, others less so. 

U.S. politics are presented to the American people as 
melodramas in a close-up. A TV series of sorts. Sex scandals — 
who our president slept with, when, courtroom dramas a la O.J. 
Simpson for months — instead of who holds the economic power, 
why do we have more than a million prisoners, why millions of 
Americans do not have health care, why infant mortality in certain 
ghettos is the same as in India. 

As in melodramas, we have good and bad guys. We fight 
wars to save babies in incubators in Kuwait or to save women from 
rapes in Bosnia. We kill half a million kids with the Iraqi embargo, 
millions of Vietnamese, we poison people and plants with uranium 
and other experimental weapons. And it's all done with certain 
catch words — democracy, open society, fi-eedom, fi-eedom fighters, 
fi-ee market economy, Western. The context is missing, the larger 
picture, the long shot that would permit a person to judge what is 
going on. We never see the forest, we focus on a few trees. This is 
not an accident. It's a culture where children and adults are mo- 
ronized and brainwashed systematically in order to think, talk, and 
wish for more and more new things. 

Still, if you watch carefully, you notice that after years of 
muddiness on why we are in Bosnia, the rapes and other reasons 
were suddenly dropped around September 1995 after the removal 
of all the Serbs from Krajina and after the systematic, every few 
minutes, daily, around-the-clock bombing of the Bosnian Serbs. 

A new, clearer image appears. "U.S. interests" is intro- 
duced. Timidly at first. Here and there, then more. To get you used 
to it. Nobody asks on PBS or elsewhere, "What interests?" A State 
Department spokesperson's job is to inform us which new country 
the U.S. is attacking or putting under embargo. Most Americans, 
too busy and too worried with their own problems and confiised by 
many new words — downsizing, collateral damage, aggressive paci- 



NADjA TESICH I 95 



fication, etc. — are bullied into submission in a culture of each per- 
son struggling alone. 

In January 1997 there was a further development. Defense 
Secretary William Perry left office, smiling, looking like a loving 
father to contradict with sweetness his statement that the U.S. can 
decide which country, no matter where on this planet, must be 
dominated because of U.S. security interests. One timid question: 
"Are we being attacked?" "No," he says, "but since we are the only 
superpower in the world, every country is in our national interest." 
No questions, no objections on PBS. 

The events in Belgrade, presumably triggered by disputed 
local elections held in November 1996, as well as other events 
elsewhere, have to be seen in this perspective, along with the Day- 
ton peace plan, the so-called "world tribunal" in The Hague, human 
rights, U.S. observers, words like freedom, democracy, free mar- 
ket, and so on. We in Yugoslavia are only minor players in this 
world drama, where a single country acts as jailer, judge, and exe- 
cutioner. And a definer of words. 

If The Hague tribunal were actually a world court it would 
mean that any country could also bring charges against the U.S. 
For crimes against humanity. The problem is there would be too 
many countries, and how far back do you start? They might fight 
for who will go first. 

Where are the outside Human Rights Watches watching for 
the abuses in this country, snooping around schools, hospitals, pris- 
ons, to see how the homeless live, how poor women live, what they 
die from, how soon. Imagine this; A Cuban delegation appears, to 
watch over U.S. hospitals and schools in the ghettoes. The Yugo- 
slav delegation flies in to watch for violations of freedom of the 
press and life on the Indian reservations. 

Dream on. 

Another term, often used: free market economy. The U.S. 
government wants the whole world to have it and demonstrators in 
Belgrade are dying to get it, too, without knowing quite what it 
means. The word "free" makes it sound good. Free like birds, like 
clouds — who is ever opposed to freedom? The question nobody 



196 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



asks is, free for whom? Free for multinational billion-dollar corpo- 
rations to plunder Eastern Europe, to rob the former Soviet Union 
of its national resources? And NATO is there making sure the 
slaves don't rise up. Certain comparisons could be made with pris- 
ons here in the U. S. 

Who can buy state-owned factories in Yugoslavia except 
someone from the outside? The country becomes dependent, no 
longer capable of taking care of itself so that such basic needs as 
medicines might have to be bought elsewhere at a higher price. It 
means losing control. The free-market economy is a new attempt at 
colonization, sneakily done, turning all of Eastern Europe into 
countries of the Third World. And NATO is nothing more than a 
police force. Mr. Perry bragged that day, leaving office, how 
NATO was dead when he came in and now it has been resurrected. 
Nobody asked him: Why is NATO spreading? What is its role? He 
hinted that it's needed for the usual reasons — to protect our free- 
dom so Americans can sleep in peace. 

I watched the demonstrations in Belgrade — the so-called 
"opposition, pro-democracy" forces — with many years' knowledge 
of which demonstrations are shown, for how long, which not, some 
not at all. I thought of Chile and 1973. Even though the circum- 
stances are different in Belgrade, there was something similar about 
the ominous carnival atmosphere. At that time, the media said 
nothing about the CIA — which staged, pushed, and paid for the 
events in Chile — though it was obvious to some of us. And we 
know what happened. My friends died in that stadium. Those who 
could, escaped into exile as the bloody dictatorship took over. 

A major setback for Chile and a victory for the U.S. A 
whole generation of progressive thinkers and leaders destroyed. 
Years later, an admission, a regret that yes, the CIA was involved. 
A paragraph in the Times. 

The third day of demonstrations in Belgrade, the Voice of 
America and Radio Free Europe clarified the picture for me. Not 
that it was ever unclear. But now I had proof of what was going 
on. I was so gratefijl to the Voice of America for helping me in this 
search that I called them up to tell them how much they meant to 



NADjA TESICH I 97 



me. By then it was obvious that opposition protests for freedom 
and democracy are led by the USA to create a state of chaos in a 
country already chaotic and weak from six years of embargo. 

In whose interest is the chaos? Not the Serbian people. Just 
as in Chile, the blame for the economy is put entirely on the gov- 
ernment. There is no mention of the economic sanctions, what the 
U.S. did, is doing now. As one doctor said to me last November in 
Belgrade, "The U.S. prevents us from functioning, kills our kids, 
and then it wants to send us charitable funds." 

Health care was good and free for everyone in Yugoslavia. 
It was a country full of healthy people. Even now, crippled with 
shortages, badly needing spare parts for diagnostic procedures, they 
manage, inventing new ways to save the population from epidem- 
ics. Can you imagine what would have happened had the main 
fectory producing most of the antibiotics and pain killers belonged 
to a foreign country which could for profit reasons sell it, move it, 
or turn it into, let's say, a perfijme factory? 

Each country, especially one small and poor, needs to pro- 
tect itself, its resources. It has a right to decide what's to be done, 
what not, to guarantee its survival. 

The Voice of America, paid for by the CIA and Co., began 
its aggressive campaign early in the morning when most people get 
ready for work in Belgrade. This constitutes meddling in the inter- 
nal affairs of a country — an act that should have been condemned 
in the United Nations. As far as I know, Chinese radio is not urging 
us in New York City to rise up. Can you imagine what would hap- 
pen if it did? 

There was no Voice of America urgjng people in Zagreb, 
Croatia, to rise up last spring — in spite of there being thousands in 
the streets protesting an illegal voting situation. However, since 
President Tudjman was a "partner" and a "good guy" while the 
demonstrators were left of center, no Voice of America was 
needed at that time. 

In Belgrade, members of the U.S. Congress led the anti- 
government demonstrations. For freedom, democracy, market 
economy, and bliss. Rep. Bruce Vento of Minnesota spoke at the 



198 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



rally in Belgrade on January 1 0. He denounced the Milosevic gov- 
ernment and declared U.S. support for the opposition. 

In New York, there were weeks of coverage — all TV 
channels, newspapers, editorials, front page, pictures. Compare this 
with other countries where demonstrations are ignored or barely 
covered. The fraudulent, U.S. -backed elections in Nicaragua. The 
major strikes in South Korea. 

And remember this: in August 1995 two hundred thousand 
Serbs vanished from the Krajina in Croatia, where they had lived 
for centuries. This unbelievable exodus — old people dying in the 
terrible heat, nursing mothers, women giving birth on the side of 
the road, hunger, thirst, bombed from the air in addition — all this 
disappears in a few days from the U.S. media. Of course there is no 
mention of U.S. advisors, a U.S. -trained Croatian army, U.S. re- 
tired generals, U.S. ships in the Adriatic helping clean and clear the 
path for the Croatian army. The bombing of Bosnian Serbs, the 
biggest bombing in Europe since World War II, also vanishes from 
our TV screens. There are no after-effects on civilians. There is no 
mention of chemical warfare, a spectrum of new poisons from ura- 
nium to psychogenic weapons to "break their will to resist." 

Remembering this, I also remember that these anti- 
government, opposition democratic forces did not demonstrate 
over Krajina nor the bombing in Bosnia. They are not opposed to 
The Hague nor the U.S. takeover. It's obvious that they and the 
U.S. work together and the U.S. government supports, encour- 
ages, and pays for these events on the streets of Belgrade. 

Why? 

For the usual reason — it's in their interest. It has nothing to 
do with freedom and so-called democracy. 

I remember how certain words were used as a camouflage 
from the beginning of the civil war in Yugoslavia. In 1991 Croatia 
was called "Western and democratic." A A/ew York 7V/we5 journalist 
can't explain to me why this is so, since Croatia is close to fascism 
and Serbia resembles anarchy of sorts. Serbia was called a dictator- 
ship then, and again now in 1997. 



NAD]A TESICH I 99 



Izetbegovic's government is also called "Western" and 
"democratic." Bianca Jagger and Susan Sontag tell us so. Every- 
body is good and freedom-loving, except the Serbs. 

Demonstrators in Belgrade who carry an American and a 
German flag become suddenly good too. Do you wonder why? 
They, too, are called Western and democratic. 

Laura Silver in an op-ed article in the New York Times, 
originally written for the Financial Times from Belgrade, tells us as 
much. The opposition is Western. And democratic. These are good 
guys. Could / get an op-ed piece in the Times? No way. Even 
though I know the culture, I speak the language, I could not. I 
don't write for the Financial Times, that's why. Such is my free- 
dom in the U.S. Of course, I could shout and scream or talk to my- 
self on the street, but my freedom is zero in eflFectiveness. 

The charade continues. All the usual "good guys" — L. 
Zimmerman, known for his hatred of the Serbs; Bogdan Denitch, 
who advocated bombing Belgrade on Channel 5; various State De- 
partment officials — all these gray characters and spooks sing now 
in unison the same song — "the opposition is good" — with the 
Voice of America as background music. 

The present government in Belgrade is called the last dicta- 
torship which has to be eliminated. On U.S. TV there are even dis- 
cussions on how this should be done — murder or exile. No matter 
what we think about Milosevic, he was freely elected by his people. 
If I suggested on television a similar approach for Mr. Clinton, I 
would be locked up. For security reasons. 

It's silly to call Belgrade a dictatorship. You can only sell 
this to someone who doesn't know. There are hundreds of different 
opinions on the street. All the newspapers belong to the opposition 
except two. Compare this with the U.S. Where are our daily op- 
position papers? Where is our alternate news? 

As a writer I can say that Belgrade is much more interest- 
ing than New York and, yes, I feel freer there. My work — an essay, 
a novel or a play — would get done if it had literary merit. Regard- 
less of my views. The market approach to literature still has not 
eroded the mind. Consequently there is a richness of voices, dis- 



200 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



cussions about life and art, while here we writers discuss money 
and contracts and will it selJ or not. All thinking has been reduced 
to one dimension — profit only. 

No, Belgrade is not a dictatorship. If anything, it has per- 
mitted through naivete or ignorance or absence of a clear ideology 
a very chaotic situation conducive to destabilization fi'om the out- 
side. Suspicious foundations paid by the U.S. or Germany, new 
would-be "feminist" groups without addresses, new mystical relig- 
ions and cures, courses on levitation, how to be happy in three days 
courtesy of EST look-alikes from California. 

Here's something to consider. Months of demonstrations 
like those in Belgrade couldn't happen in the U.S. There would 
have been thousands of dead and thousands locked up. For a small 
two-hour demonstration in New York City you need permits, are 
squeezed into a restricted area, and there are as many cops as dem- 
onstrators. And the cops have motorcycles, guns, and horses. 

With the dead on my mind, I have another flashback: 
Greece, 1967. The military junta, backed by the U.S., jails, tortures, 
executes — including a friend of mine. U.S. ships are in the harbor. 
The New York Times reports how "the sun is shining, people laugh 
and dance. What is this talk about dictatorship?" Sulzberger writes, 
"Life is wonderful in Greece." 

lam also reminded of Sean Gervasi and the conversations 
we had starting in 1992 and continuing up to his death in Belgrade 
in June 1996. He predicted that the U.S., which helped destroy 
Yugoslavia and produced unnecessary bloodshed in Bosnia, would 
go even fijrther: divide the Bosnian Serbs among themselves and 
against Serbia, divide Montenegro from Serbia, and create a situa- 
tion where Serbs in Serbia will kill each other. In whose interest is 
this? 

Sean specialized in analyzing the economic side of destabi- 
lization while I focus on the political and cultural. The great major- 
ity of students don't even know what they are demonstrating about. 
Some vague ideas of democracy and living well. Refugees, chased 
from their homes in Krajina, unable to strike the real enemy, turn 
their anger toward their own. Various middle-class people who 



NAD]A TESICH 201 



lived well under socialism and traveled to Paris, Rome, London 
believe that once they have America on their side, they'll live as 
well as before. Funny how deluded they are. Most imagine they'll 
have what they already have — free health care, schools, prenatal 
care, a year of paid maternity leave with guaranteed return to the 
job — and will also get everything in the U.S. movies — turquoise- 
blue swimming pools, fancy cars, wardrobes from U.S. sitcoms. 

All these people on the street with the canuval atmosphere 
in the air are too caught up in their own family and national dramas 
to pay attention to the larger picture. None of the parties, including 
the present government, understands the U.S. government. They 
perceive it as a sweet, friendly father you have to please. They 
badly need education on U.S. foreign wars and the wars this coun- 
try wages against its own people. 

In Yugoslavia, many still have not digested who they are 
dealing with. The U.S. government sells 70 percent of the world's 
weapons, often to both sides in a conflict. It encourages ethnic 
conflicts, supports temporarily various heads of state and then 
dumps them when necessary, leaving wastelands behind. It spends 
a trillion dollars on the military, not schools, not hospitals, not the 
American people. Everything the U.S. does elsewhere — chaos and 
destabilization — it does equally at home. There is one aim: to 
weaken any ties to collective identity unless they are market defined 
(you and I have much in common because we wear the same 
sneakers or go scuba diving together or ski). But there is more: to 
create units of one, lonely, separate from others, anxious and in 
fear, buying and spending for relief As a substitute for everything 
else. 

The way I see it, there is no government or leadership. 
There is just money and markets. It's an amoral, mechanical mon- 
ster whose heart is the beat of Wall Street. Up and down it goes. 
More and more it needs and it's never enough. All the phrases like 
"family values," Christmas spirit (imagine NATO troops giving 
Barbie dolls to bombed kids in Bosnia), freedom, democracy — it's 
all camouflage, fluff, a sugar coating to cover up the real thing. 
Murder and destruction to create new markets, to oppose whoever 



202 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



Stands in its path. It's the opposite of freedom; it does not tolerate 
independent countries or any degree of self-determination. 

Still, it can be resisted. I remain optimistic. Machines break, 
after all. Here in New York, where the liberals have become the 
same as the Republicans, the subways are full of people so poor it 
looks like a country of the Third World. Nobody objects when I 
talk about Yugoslavia. They agree with me. This population which 
is not market defined and has nothing to lose is greater every day. 
And they seem to be informed. 

My optimism grows. I even get cheered up by Mr. Perry 
who, when leaving oflBce, said that the U.S. could afford maybe 
three wars at the same time. Mind you, he is not talking about real 
fighters but paid soldiers with technology, that's all. And suddenly, 
reminded of Ernesto Che Guevara, killed by U.S. -trained Rangers, 
I can't help but wonder: What if there are five or ten or twenty 
wars, what then? All at the same time. In our lifetime. 



12 Media deception 

and the Yugoslav 
civil war 

Barry Lituchy' 



It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Of course, today 
with the appalling spectacle of the civil war in Yugoslavia filling our 
TV screens and newspapers, this old axiom has taken on an uglier, 
more sinister meaning. If four years ago we could say that the 
American public was totally uninformed about the conflict ready to 
unfold, today we can say with equal justification that Americans are 
doubly or triply misinformed, and dangerously so, about this tragic 
and completely unnecessary war. 

And there's a very good reason why. A malicious campaign 
of war propaganda, anti-Serb hatred, and just plain lies has flooded 
the American media. It has been financed and run through public 
relations firms, non-governmental organizations and human rights 
groups with the patronage of various governments, all with the 
single purpose of mobilizing public opinion on the side of the 
Bosnian Muslims and Croats, and against those "horrible people," 
the Serbs. The truth, the lives of innocent people, and the real dan- 
gers of a wider war are all forsaken; the main thing is to twist or to 
invent the facts so that they fit in with America's foreign policy ob- 



' This article was originally published in the February 1995 issue of The 
College Voice, College of Staten Island, City University of New York. 



204 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



jectives in Bosnia. Every step of the way, the media has acted as a 
co-belligerent, with the aim of whipping up anti-Serbian sentiment 
and support for military intervention on the side of the Muslim and 
Croat forces. 

Many of the stories on the Bosnian conflict that we read 
about and see on TV are actually fed to the media by public rela- 
tions firms. Jim Harff, President of Ruder Finn Global Public Af- 
fairs, the public relations firm that handles the accounts of Bosnia, 
Croatia, and the Albanian opposition in Kosovo, argues that mod- 
em wars cannot be fought and won today without good public re- 
lations work. "In terms of persuading and convincing the UN to 
take proper measures," says HarfF, "it's even more important." Ac- 
cording to U.S. Justice Department records, Bosnia and Croatia 
pay Ruder Finn more than $10,000 a month plus expenses "to pre- 
sent a positive image to members of Congress, administration oflS- 
cials, and the news media."' 

The amount of covered "expenses" is many times greater 
than the disclosed fee. Harff is himself an insider in Washington, 
where he has worked for three different Representatives over the 
past decade. Because of international economic sanctions imposed 
on the Serbs by the UN — ^largely due to false stories in the media — 
the Serbs, ironically, are barred from hiring a public relations firm. 

The use of public relations firms to manufacture "the news" 
and shape public opinion is a dangerous phenomenon that threatens 
the lives and fi-eedom of people around the world. But it is not en- 
tirely new. It was used to devastating effect during the Gulf War. 
John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper 's magazine and author of 
Second Front, an expose of media disinformation during the Gulf 
War, has compared media coverage of the Bosnian conflict to that 
of the Gulf War. 

In one of the most hideous examples of disinformation ever 
used to launch a war, the public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton 
produced a fifteen-year-old girl named Nariyah who testified before 
a congressional committee that she had seen Iraqi soldiers tearing 
Kuwaiti babies from hospital incubators. After the war was over 
and 100,000 Iraqis Jiad been killed, the story was revealed to be a 



RARRY LITUCHY 205 



fraud, and the girl to be the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to 
the U.S. 

Hill and Knowlton was employed by the government of 
Kuwait. But at the time, the media ran the story uncritically, as did 
most of the leading human rights organizations, such as Amnesty 
International and Human Rights Watch, which widely publicized 
these faked atrocities. MacArthur says that "human rights hawks 
have become less interested in the objective investigation of atroci- 
ties than they are in their own arguments for armed intervention, 
whether genuine or merely alleged."^ 

In the case of the Yugoslav civil war, the sheer scope of the 
propaganda campaign hurled at the Serbs far exceeds anything used 
against Iraq. Stories depicting the Serbian side in the conflict as 
subhuman have been a constant feature in the media. Serbs have 
been accused of everything from systematic rape to ethnic cleansing 
to bombings of civilians to genocide. But facts are stubborn things. 
None of these extraordinary charges has stood up to close scrutiny. 

A regular feature of nearly every article in the New York 
Times or Newsweek has been an accompanying photograph of 
Muslim women and children fleeing from war. We never see 
Serbian women and children maimed or killed by the war. Nor are 
we told that gunfire coming from Serb positions in Sarajevo is 
return fire aimed at Muslim snipers in the city's tall buildings. 
OccasionaUy, in the desperate search for pictures to "document" 
Serbian atrocities, the media uses photos of dead Serbs and labels 
them "Muslim victims," as was the case with the January 4, 1993, 
issue of Newsweek.^ The August 7, 1993, issue of the New York 
Times contained a photo purporting to be that of Croats grieving 
over Serbian atrocities when in fact the murders had been 
committed by Bosnian Muslims.* 

In August 1992 British television helped publicize the sup- 
posed existence of concentration camps allegedly used by the Serbs 
to exterminate Muslims and Croats. To prove that what they had 
discovered was not a prison but rather a Nazi-type death camp, 
ITN and others broadcast pictures around the world, focusing on 
two emaciated men, both presumably Muslim. However, one of 



206 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



them was eventually identified as Slobodan Konjevic, a Serb suffer- 
ing fi-om tuberculosis for ten years, arrested for looting. The con- 
centration/death camp story, having served its purpose, was 
dropped. But by then the story already had been seen by millions of 
people. The fact that everyone else in the photos of these "death 
camps" was well fed just somehow escaped reporters' attention.' 

At about the same time as the death camp fabrication was 
the "ethnic cleansing" story. While it is true that some Bosnian Serb 
forces had evicted Muslims fi"om their homes in Serb-held areas, 
what was not said was that Muslim and Croat forces were carrying 
out the exact same policy. But the media still presented it as a 
purely Serbian crime, peculiar to Serbian policy and thinking. 

Thus, it would surprise most people to leam that six hun- 
dred thousand Muslim and Croatian refugees had been given refijge 
in Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. That's never mentioned. Nor was it 
reported that after Croatia declared independence in 1 99 1 , Serbs in 
Croatia were asked to take a loyalty oath. Forty thousand who re- 
fused to do so were forced out of their homes. Nor did the media 
cover the Muslim government's bloody campaign in August 1994 
that ethnically cleansed northern Bosnia of Serbs, and then forced 
sixty thousand Muslims in Bihac, who support the Serbs and hate 
the criminal government in Sarajevo, to flee fi'om their homes. The 
media just didn't think the story was worth reporting. 

In the fall of 1 992 came the story of Serb rapes of Croat 
and Muslim women. The New York Times reported on December 
13, 1992, that fifty thousand Muslim and Croatian women had been 
raped and that it was official Serb policy to do so. 

Anyone with the least bit of common sense should have 
said: "Hey, what is this?!" But not the media nor the human rights 
groups; they ate it up and, believing their own lies, sent teams of 
reporters to Bosnia to interview the victims. One embarrassed 
French journalist, Jerome Bony, explained it this way: "When I got 
to fifty kilometers fi-om Tuzla, I was told, 'Go to Tuzla high school. 
There are four thousand raped women.' When I got twenty kilome- 
ters fi'om Tuzla, the figure dropped to four hundred. At ten kilome- 



RARRY LITUCHY 207 



ters only forty were left. Once at the site I found only four women 
willing to testify."* 

Poor Peter Jennings from ABC. Having organized an entire 
special program on Serb atrocities, he was forced to air the state- 
ment of a representative from Helsinki Watch that the story of 
massive Serbian rapes had originated with the Bosnian and Croa- 
tian governments and had no credible evidence. What she didn't 
say was that Ruder Finn was mainly responsible for disseminating 
the story in the first place. 

The rape story has not gone away despite the fact that no 
proof exists anywhere of more rapes by Serb soldiers than by Mus- 
lims or Croats. But that hasn't stopped the media's yellow journal- 
ists. New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis declared that the 
Serbs were "at the level of beasts."' The message is clear: these 
people are no good. But imagine if your entire ethnic background 
were described that way? Of course, if you are African-American, 
you don't have to imagine it; you've been there. When the Ameri- 
can ruling class wants to destroy a particular ethnic group, they will 
invent racial stereotypes to degrade and vilify the entire people. The 
Serbs have been so marked. 

Incredibly, there are even worse examples. On February 5, 
1994, there was the infamous Sarajevo market massacre where 
sixty-eight people were killed. The Serbs were blamed for it, until 
the story leaked out on French TV that the UN knew that the Mus- 
lims had bombed their own people in order to induce UN and 
NATO military involvement. 

The disgusting ploy worked. NATO bombed Serb posi- 
tions several days later. But the truth will out eventually, and the 
UN has revealed other instances of Muslim government forces 
bombing their own and selling it as a Serb atrocity. 

Similarly in April 1994 there was the battle for Gorazde. 
The media reported that the Serbs had intentionally bombed 
Gorazde hospital, killing many civilians. It turned out that the 
hospital was never hit. Then there was the battle for Bihac in De- 
cember 1994 when the media claimed that the Serbs were poised 
to commit horrible atrocities against the civilian population. As it 



208 



NATO IN THE BALKANS 



turned out, the Muslim government forces committed the atroci- 
ties, occupying civilian homes and putting thousands of Muslim 
civilians in peril by using them as human shields. The so-called "safe 
havens" have served as a treasure trove of "atrocity" stories be- 
cause they are defended by the UN and used by the Muslim gov- 
ernment as staging areas for military offensives. 

The media have disseminated even crazier stories designed 
to keep anti-Serbian feeling at a high pitch. But what may be worse 
are all the stories swept under the rug. Croatia today is ruled by a 
neo-fascist leader who has denied that the Holocaust ever hap- 
pened and who claims that Croatian fascists during World War II 
were just doing their jobs. Soldiers in the Croatian military, the 
HOS, salute with the same straight-armed gesture used by Nazis 
half a century ago. Neo-Nazis from around the world have flocked 
to Croatia to fight in the HOS. The HOS has been the source of 
real, unreported atrocities. 

Just as Croatia is a client of Germany, the Bosnian Muslims 
are bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Pakistan, and Tur- 
key. The government is led by a man who for twenty-five years has 
called for an Islamic fijndamentalist state and society that leaves no 
room for non-Islamic cultures. The presence of CIA and U.S. mili- 
tary advisors on the ground — building airstrips, providing intelli- 
gence and training — is reported in the European press, but not in 
the United States. 

Forty-seven years ago George Orwell gave us a cautionary 
prediction of where the modem media was headed in his novel 
1984. People today concerned with issues of peace and social jus- 
tice have plenty of reason to be disturbed by the precedents set in 
the media's propaganda war against the Serbs, and not just because 
the propaganda war is the prelude to a real war. Clinton has already 
promised twenty thousand American troops for Bosnia if the UN 
requests them. But will Americans know what they are fighting and 
perhaps dying for? Not if the media, human-rights groups, and P.R. 
firms "do their job." Then Ruder Finn can proudly proclaim, ''1984 
■RUs" 



RARRY LITUCHY 



209 



' Harff is quoted here by Mike Trickey in The Spectator (Hamilton, ON), 
12 February 1993. All public relations firms working for foreign govern- 
ments must register with the Justice Department. I found in documents 
obtained from the Justice Department that while Croatia was contracted to 
pay Ruder Finn $16,000 a month and Bosnia was to pay $12,000 in 1992, 
payments in some later months were as high as $200,000, and total pay- 
ments per year were ultimately in the millions of dollars. Moreover, Ruder 
Finn was not the only P.R. firm employed in Bosnia. Hill and Knowlton 
was also contracted early in the war. Waterman & Associates was em- 
ployed by Croatia. Financial backing came from countries such as Saudi 
Arabia, which alone fiinneled nearly $ 1 billion to the Sarajevo regime from 
1993 to 1996, according to the Washington Post, 2 February 1996. Ruder 
Finn was also contracted by the non-existent "Republic of Kosovo" for 
$5,000 a month, according to a Justice Department document dated 1 No- 
vember 1992. 

^ "Letters," The Nation, 18 July 1994. 

' The infamous photograph of a Serb killed by Croats in Vukovar in No- 
vember 1991 has been used over and over again by CNN, "60 Minutes," 
and others as an example of Serbian "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing," 
most recently by Christiane Amanpour on CNN on 1 June 1997. 
^ The New York Times printed a retraction the following week. 
' Newsweek, 17 August 1992. The photo of Konjevic in Newsweek should 
not be confused with the photo of Filcret Alic, also from ITN footage, and 
displayed on the cover of Time, 17 August 1992. A clarification about the 
two men was made by Peter Brock in Foreign Policy, Spring 1994, p. 165. 
^Le Point, 13 March 1993. 

' New York Times, 27 June 1 994. A few other examples of overt racism 
include Senator Joseph Biden's comments on CNN on 1 August 1993, 
calling Serbs "illiterates, degenerates, baby killers, and cowards." Political 
cartoons in the Chicago Tribune of 1 January 1993, and theA'ew York 
Times of 18 April 1993, depicted Serbs as pigs and vultures, respectively. 
Morton Kondrake pronounced Serbs to be "bastards" on an April 1994 
airing of the PBS program "The McLaughlin Group." 



1 3 War propaganda 

aimed at 
Jewish opinion 

Heather Cottin 
& Alvin Dorfman 



There is at present widespread support in American public 
opinion for the policies of the U.S. government in the Balkans. 
It is a striking and dark paradox that Jewish opinion has played 
an important role in helping to mobilize that support. 

U.S. policy in the Balkans has now carried the United 
States into direct intervention in two civil wars — one between 
Croatian Serbs and the new proto-fascist state of Croatia, and 
the other between the Bosnian Serbs and a Bosnian Muslim 
government that has become increasingly fundamentalist. 

In the first case, the United States helped the new Croa- 
tia to plan, organize, and carry out the invasion of the Krajina 
region in Croatia, which led to the uprooting of more than a 
quarter of a million Serbs and the slaughter of thousands who 
tried to remain in their ancestral homes there. 

In the second case, the U.S. used NATO, against the 
advice of many of its allies, to destroy the military infrastructure 
of the Bosnian Serb army and to shift the balance of power in 
favor of a minority Muslim government in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
This, too, has led to the flight of well over one hundred thou- 
sand Bosnian Serbs. 



HEATHER COTTIN & ALVIN DORFMAN 21 I 



In intervening in this manner, the United States has not 
just taken sides in an internal European war, it has allied itself 
with the most reactionary elements in Europe, including a newly 
expansionist, racist, and increasingly militaristic German gov- 
ernment. Worse still, the United States, in order to create a 
more favorable atmosphere for the re-election of President 
Clinton, sought to impose an unworkable overall peace "settle- 
ment" in Yugoslavia and to enforce it with a NATO task force 
of sixty thousand, including some twenty-five thousand U.S. 
troops. Even Richard Holbrooke, the Assistant Secretary of 
State for European Affairs, admits that this could well lead to 
another Vietnam. 

To anyone who lived through World War II and who 
still understands the meaning of Nazism — and this applies espe- 
cially to Jews — all this should be not just astonishing but repul- 
sive. The United States in alliance with the German government 
is now pursuing policies very similar to those pursued by the 
Nazis in the Balkans. It was the Nazis who wished to splinter 
the Balkans in order to dominate the area. It was the Nazis who 
unleashed clerical fascism in Yugoslavia during World War II. 
And it was the Nazis who displayed a pathological hatred of the 
Serbs, as well as of Jews and Romani (Gypsies). 

It is difficult to understand how U.S. policy toward the 
Balkans could have taken such a turn in any reasonably demo- 
cratic country. 

Unfortunately, a large part of the explanation is that public 
opinion in this matter has been driven into something like a fi"enzy 
by what seems to be an officially inspired and large-scale campaign 
of propaganda. No foreign policy can succeed without public sup- 
port. And U.S. policy in the Balkans is clear testimony to that fact. 
Although as recently as four years ago, the American public did not 
even know the location of the regions kiown as Serbia, Bosnia- 
Herzegovina, Croatia, the Krajina, and Montenegro — and perhaps 
many Americans still don't — key individuals and groups in this 
country were targeted for a propaganda barrage designed to de- 



212 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



monize the Serbs, to hide the reality of Croatian fascism, and to 
canonize the Bosnian Muslims. 

Several groups received special treatment by the gov- 
ernment and the media in the course of this propaganda cam- 
paign. Since they, like many other Americans, were for the most 
part ignorant of the history of the region, they were relatively 
easy to convince. The groups singled out were liberals, women, 
and Jews. Government spokesmen and the media have been 
hammering at them for years now. 

To take but one example, in Washington the public rela- 
tions firm of Ruder Finn mounted a campaign to get American 
Jews to associate the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 
Holocaust. This campaign, according to Justice Department 
documents, was paid for by the governments of Croatia and 
Bosnia-Herzegovina, although the head of Ruder Finn later ex- 
plained these governments had not paid for all the costs of the 
campaign. What other governments were passing money to 
Ruder Finn? Was the CIA helping to subsidize the campaign 
through traditional means, the usual kinds of "front" companies, 
or "proprietaries," as insiders like to call them? 

Every effort was made by Ruder Finn to reach the lead- 
ing Jewish organizations in the United States at an early stage. 
Facts were distorted. Lies were reiterated so many times that 
they became "facts." In April 1993 Jacques Merlino, associate 
director of French TV 2, interviewed James Harff, director of 
Ruder Finn Global Public Affairs. Harff boasted that the 
achievement he was most proud of was "to have put Jewish 
opinion on our side." 

Harff said, "We outwitted three big Jewish organiza- 
tions — the B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation League, the American 
Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress. " 
Getting these organizations to publish a pro-Bosnian Muslim ad 
in the New York Times and to organize demonstrations outside 
the United Nations, Harff said, was "a tremendous coup." He 
crowed, "By a single move we were able to present a simple 
story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play 



HEATHER COTTIN & ALVIN DORFMAN 213 



itself. We won," said Harff, "by targeting the Jewish audi- 
ence. " He explained, "Our work is not to verify information 
our work is to accelerate the circulation of information fa- 
vorable to us," adding that "We are not paid to moralize."' 

It should be remembered that Jews have also been sin- 
gled out as targets of official propaganda in the not-too-distant 
past. When the Reagan administration was secretly trying to 
overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, it used the 
same techniques that Ruder Finn used in demonizing the Serbs. 
And some Jewish leaders allowed themselves to be used to dis- 
credit the Nicaraguan government. They helped promote the 
idea that the Sandinistas were anti-Semitic. There was not a 
grain of truth to the claim. But some Jewish leaders signed a 
fiill-page ad in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and 
the Los Angeles Times which referred to the Contras as the 
moral equivalent of American revolutionaries and as "freedom 
fighters." Today American Jewish organizations have been used 
in a similar way. 

It is important to contrast what has happened in America 
with what has happened in Israel. The Israeli public has proved 
much harder to deceive than the American public. Jews are 
people of the Book. And they are very much aware of their 
place in history. Israelis are, not surprisingly, much more aware 
of history in general than American Jews, and especially of 
European history. Israeli Yugoslav Jews were therefore more 
immune to media manipulation during the world-wide campaign 
against the Serbs. 

American Jews jumped on the anti-Serb bandwagon as it 
rolled through the American media. In Israel, Yugoslav Jews 
knew very well that the Serbs had been their strongest allies 
during the Holocaust, which was carried out in Yugoslavia pri- 
marily by Croatian fascists. They remembered that the Croatian 
Ustashe had murdered hundreds of thousands at the Jasenovac 
death camp. They remembered that the Croatian President, 
Franjo Tudjman, had declared that "only" one million Jews had 



214 



NATO I N THE BALKANS 



died in the Nazi Holocaust. They knew that Tudjman had pro- 
claimed proudly that his wife was "neither a Serb nor a Jew." 

Israel may have recognized Croatia — under pressure. But it 
is no secret that Israeli arms have ended up in Serb hands. As of 
late 1995, Israel has still not recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina. It 
would be a near-suicidal step for any Israeli government to support 
a Bosnian Muslim regime whose President, Alija Izetbegovic, has 
written that "There can be no peace or coexistence between the 
Islamic feith and non-Islamic societies." 

In the United States, the process of rehabilitating Croa- 
tia has been incredibly successful. Croatian fascists, who still 
provide the model of ideal nationalism for the Croatian govern- 
ment today, killed sixty thousand Jews in World War II. They 
recently destroyed Jewish synagogues as well as Serbian 
churches. If one can ignore such things, it is hardly surprising 
that there was little international protest in August 1995 when 
250,000 Serbs living in the Krajina region of Croatia were 
driven off the land on which their families had lived for three 
hundred years. How could such "ethnic cleansing" have been 
carried out without international opprobrium? The Croatian 
campaign in the Krajina was the largest and most violent attack 
on European soil since the end of World War II. And because 
the Croatian Serb army was quickly shattered, much of it was 
directed at unarmed civilians. 

The international media called the Serbs "rebels" even 
though this region was recognized as Serb by the Croatian gov- 
ernment during World War II. No CNN horror films catalogued 
the Croatian air force strafing of Serb refugees, the destruction 
of their churches, the cold-blooded assassination of old people, 
the burning of more than sixteen thousand homes and other 
properties. No American refugee organizations concerned 
themselves with the hundreds of thousands of Serbs, from 
Croatia and Western Bosnia, streaming into Yugoslavia. 

And since, by the summer of 1995, American Jews had 
been properly brainwashed and made anti-Serb, no Jews spoke 
out about a horror \vhich should have been chillingly familiar. 



HEATHER COTTIN & ALVIN DORFMAN 215 



Somehow the fact that Croatia expelled more than forty 
thousand Serbs when it declared its independence in 1991 has 
been ignored. Somehow the fact that Croatia has denied its 
population basic human rights such as freedom of speech and 
freedom of the press and operates a repressive secret police has 
been hidden. In fear of their lives and livelihoods, some Croatian 
Jews extol the virtues of the Croatian government. When Croa- 
tian fascists commit atrocities, people seem to respond with the 
familiar refrain, "We didn't know." 

Things have not been very different with respect to 
Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the U.S. media and among senior 
American officials, Bosnian Muslim spokesmen are taken at 
their word, while Serbs are not. Jewish leaders have been trot- 
ted out to make condemnatory anti-Serb pronouncements. Even 
when United Nations forces — UNPROFOR — and United Na- 
tions spokespersons denied or raised doubts about stories of 
questionable veracity, the Bosnian Muslim position or claim has 
been taken as truth. 

Feminists in the United States were treated to a propa- 
ganda blitz about rapes allegedly carried out by Serbs. It had an 
electrifying effect. In the end, the radical group Madre, which 
previously supported Central American women, launched an 
emotional campaign to save thousands of Bosnian Muslim 
women allegedly raped by Bosnian Serb soldiers. Gloria Ste- 
inem lent the story respectability in Ms. magazine. The New 
York Times wrote that twenty thousand to fifty thousand 
Bosnian women had been raped, despite the fact that there was 
no substantiation for such numbers, except of course from the 
Bosnian Muslim "Ministry of Information." 

Despite doubts expressed by Helsinki Watch, Human 
Rights Watch, and respected individuals such as Simone Weil, 
the President of the European Parliament, the American media 
relied on the Bosnian War Crimes Commission and the Catholic 
charity Caritas, which has connections to the Croatian govern- 
ment, for verification of these outrageous claims. The German 
media promoted the rape hysteria for their own reasons, which 



216 NATO IN THE BALKANS 



British historian Nora BelofF ascribed to the German need "to 
Satanize the Serbs in order to cover their own responsibility for 
pitching Yugoslavia into war." 

In the U.S., from the beginning of the conflict, there was 
never any attempt to see the civil wars in Yugoslavia from a 
position of neutrality. Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were 
simply "new states" welcomed into the fellowship of nations, 
with seats quickly obtained for them at the United Nations. 
They were never pictured, as any briefing on history and politics 
would demand, as the fruits of the most extreme, exclusivist 
nationalism, the kind of nationalism that turned Central Europe 
upside down in the 1930s and led to World War II. But Yugo- 
slav Jews in Israel, understanding what was really happening in 
the Balkans, actively opposed any government support of Croa- 
tians or Muslims, despite Croatian public relations efforts di- 
rected at Israel. 

It is distinctly peculiar that so many Americans, and 
more curious still that so many American Jews, should have 
taken the side of the Bosnian Muslim government. Of course, 
the U.S. has backed Muslim fundamentalism before — in Af- 
ghanistan, for instance, where it was a useful tool for ending 
Russian aid to the Afghan government. But these are European 
Muslim fundamentalists. That is perhaps why the theocratic 
ideas of Mr. Izetbegovic and his colleagues have received so 
little attention here. 

Jews might wince if they learned that Bosnian President 
Izetbegovic has said in his book The Islamic Declaration that 
the struggle for Islamic order and the fundamental recon- 
struction of Muslim society can be successfully waged only by 
battle-tested and hardened individuals. The Islamic order 
should take power as soon as it is morally and numerically 
strong enough not only to overthrow non-Islamic rule but to 
develop new Islamic rule."^ Are these the heroes of the West? It 
is strange that Americans and American Jews, as a people who 
believe in multi-cultural diversity and freedom of religion, have 
embraced the Bosnian Muslims' struggle as their own. 



HEATHER COTTIN & ALVIN DORFMAN 217 



The horror of the last four years was brought upon the 
Balkans primarily by Germany and the United States for geo- 
political reasons. In 1991 or 1992, Yugoslavia might already 
have begun to break up as a result of internal disagreements. 
But, in the absence of German and U.S. interventions, it is un- 
likely that there would have been civil wars there. By the end of 
1992, however, Germany, throwing around its weight as an 
economic power, was able to force the international community 
to recognize Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina as in- 
dependent states. It was quietly but effectively assisted by the 
Bush administration, which, almost immediately after the Yeh- 
sin takeover of 1 99 1 in the Soviet Union, publicly abandoned its 
support for the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. 

By their joint maneuverings, the two great powers cre- 
ated a situation that reduced the status of the more than two 
million Serbs outside Serbia and Montenegro to that of "ethnic 
minorities" in hostile states. 

When Croatia denied Serbs all political standing, the Kra- 
jina Serbs declared their independence from Croatia — and with as 
much right as the Croatians had in declaring their independence 
from Yugoslavia. In Bosnia, where under Izetbegovic Serbs were 
denied all political and economic rights, the Bosnian Serbs also em- 
barked on a struggle for self-determination. They had no wish to be 
dominated by a repressive fundamentalist regime. 

But Germany and the U.S. were determined to succeed 
in their efforts to break up Yugoslavia. Germany poured mil- 
lions of Deutschmarks into the Croatian military, and it trained 
and armed Bosnian Muslims, with help from Saudi Arabia, Iran, 
Turkey, and other Islamic governments. Weapons, money, and 
men poured into Bosnia. And the Muslim government opposed 
every peace agreement that would have given anything of value 
to the Bosnian Serbs. The U.S. has provided finances, political 
support, and covert military assistance to both the Bosnian 
Muslims and the Croatians. 

Thus there had to be a battle to win the hearts and minds 
of the American people. Their support was needed if these 



218 NATO I N THE BALKANS 



policies were to succeed. The support of American Jews be- 
came a key to moving public opinion. Their major organizations 
carried weight, both in terms of resources and in terms of moral 
leadership. Jewish support underwrote the morality of the Ger- 
man-American policies in the Balkans. 

It also followed that a great deal had to be hidden. Ger- 
many's pursuit of divisive and expansionist policies in the Bal- 
kans for the third time in the century had to be hidden. The fun- 
damentalist values of government leaders in Bosnia had to be 
kept hidden. And the role of Germany and the U.S. in building 
up extremist nationalist movements so that Yugoslavia could be 
torn apart had to be hidden. Widespread information about any 
of these would have made it very difficult to win the prize of 
Jewish opinion. 

The time has come to question our position on this is- 
sue. Progressives in this country, and Jews especially, have been 
inundated by a tidal wave of poisonous falsehoods. We must 
ask ourselves, "Since when were aggressive, anti-democratic 
foreign policies worthy of support?" We need to establish why 
Yugoslavia broke up. We need to understand the meaning of 
the U.S. -German alliance after the Cold War. And we need to 
question why we have deserted the Serbs, our only friends in 
Yugoslavia, the only people who stood with us against the Na- 
zis and who died with us at the death camp Jasenovac. 

Serbs in Belgrade to whom we have spoken by phone 
are appalled at what American Jewish organizations have done. 
Jews of Yugoslav origin in Israel are mortified. One has only to 
read the Israeli press to realize that. We must see our shame. If 
it comes from not knowing, or being misled, we need to atone 
for it. By continuing to turn our backs on the Serbian people, 
Jews have nothing to gain and can lose everything we morally 
stand for. 



Jacques Merlino, Les Verites yugoslaves^ne sont pas toutes bonnes a dire 
(The Truth from Yugoslavia Is Not Easy to Report) (Paris: Editions Albin 
Michel S.A., 1993). Unq^icial translation. 



HEATHER COTTIN & ALVIN DORFMAN 219 



^ Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration, translat«d excerpts available 
from the Balkan Research Centre in "A briefing paper produced for mem- 
bers for the 1992/3 session of the British Parliament," 21 December 1992, 
on line; originally printed privately 1970, reprinted Sarajevo, 1990 
(http://suc.suc.org/~kostaAar/bosna/). 



APPENDIX 



The Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Pro- 
grams Appropriations Act, 1991, Public Law 101-513, appro- 
priated funds for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1991. 
Below is the paragraph relating to Yugoslavia: 

Sec. 599 A. Six months after the date of enactment of this Act, (1) 
none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant 
to this Act shall be obligated or expended to provide any direct assis- 
tance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and (2) the Secretary of 
the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Director of 
each international financial institution to use the voice and vote of the 
United States to oppose any assistance of the respective institutions to 
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Provided, That this section shall 
not apply to assistance intended to support democratic parties or 
movements, emergency or humanitarian assistance, or the fiirtherance 
of human rights: Provided further, That this section shall not apply if 
all six of the individual Republics of the Federal Republic of Yugo- 
slavia have held free and fair multiparty elections and are not engaged 
in a pattern of systematic gross violations of human rights: Provided 
further, That notwithstanding the failure of the individual Republics 
of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to have held free and 
fair multiparty elections within six months of the enactment of this 
Act, this section shall not apply if the Secretary of State certifies that 
the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is making significant 
strides toward complying with the obligations of the Helsinki Accords 
and is encouraging any Republic which has not held free and fair 
multiparty elections to do so. 



INDEX 



— A— 

Abdic, FUcret, 59, 151 
Action Council fcr Peace in the Balkans, 
67 

Afghanistan, 60, 216 

Air Expeditionary Force, 7 

Albania, 7, 30, 74, 1 10, 125, 144, 149, 

179, 180, 182 
Albright, Madeleine, 62, 126 
Algeria, 109, 1 54 

Alic, Fikret, 165, 167-71, 173, 175-78, 
209 

Allied Command Europe Kapid Reaction 

(ARRC), 147 
American Jewish Committee, 55, 212 
Amnesty International, 205 
Andric, Ivo, 1 4 
Armenia, 32, 70 
arms merchants, 156, 157 
Associated Banks, 85 
Auschwitz, 15,55, 176 
Austria, 24, 51,96, 108, 1 12 
Anti-Fascist Council of National 

Liberation (AVNOJ), 94, 95, 109 
Azerbaijan, 32, 70 



Bajramovic, Miro, 136, 137 

Banja Luka, 66, 132 

bankruptcy, 84-85, 88 

banks, 30, 32, 50, 54,70, 81, 83, 85, 88, 

91, 100, 104, 110, 127, 157-58 
Bassiouni, Cherif, 1 77 
Bechtel, 158-59 
Belgium, 35, 146 

Belgrade, 14, 17, 82-84, 86, 95-96, 1 19, 
121, 129, 137, 139-40, 161, 184, 186- 
88, 190, 192-93, 195-200,218 

Belsen '92, 165 

Berlin Wall, 83, 179, 182 

Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal, 1 5, 
154 

Bihac, 59,65,123,206-07 
Bildam Sonnlag, 153, 162 
Bildt, Karl, 80 
Black Sea, 7, 30, 33 
Blaskic, Tihomir, 135, 139 
blockade, see Sanctions 
Bony, Jerome, 57, 206 
Bosnia, 1-2, 4-7, 9, 13, 16-17 19-21, 24, 
26-27, 29-30, 46-47, 52,34-70, 72, 



75, 79-82, 86-91, 93, 96-98, 108, 1 14- 
18, 121-26, 129, 131-32, 139, 141, 
143-49, 151-53, 156, 158-62, 166-68, 
176-78, 180, 182, 185, 187-94, 198, 
200-01,203-12,214-18 

Bosnian Central Bank, 5,81 

Bosnian Muslims, 26, 1 10, 1 14, 123, 161, 
165-68, 180, 193, 203, 205, 208, 212, 
217 

Boyd, Gen. Charles G., 17-18. 59, 75, 155, 

162 
Brae, 134 

BriUin, 5, 19, 27, 32, 35, 47, 53, 58,-63, 
68, 72, 74, 92,95, 103, 108, 115, 118, 
128, 133, 142, 146-48, 154, 159, 161- 
62,165-69, 171. 173, 176-77, 205, 
216,219 

Brown, Ron, 1 58-59 

Budak,Mile, 135 

Bulgaria, 1,13-14, 29, 70, 110, 122, 179, 
181, 182 

Bush, George, 34, 49, 71, 83, 97, 1 10-1 1, 
114, 117, 123, 142, 154, 177,217 

— C— 

Canada, 40, 51,91, 151 

capital, 7, 35, 42, 45, 67, 88, 91, 99-102, 

158-59, 181 
capilalisme sauvage, 44 
capitalist revolution, 44 
Carilas, 215 

Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 147 
Carr, T.W. "Bill," 148-49, 161 
Carter, Jimmy, 67,97 
Caspian Sea, 30-33 

Center for Defense Information, 25, 45, 
143, 160 

Central Europe, 26, 28, 34, 41, 42, 184, 
216 

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 18-19, 
48, 60, 64, 67-68, 73, 75, 1 1 1, 134, 
143, 148, 151, 158, 187, 190-91. 196- 
97, 208,212 

Cervenko, Gen. Zvonimir, 133 

chemical warfare, 198 

Chetniks,94, 160 

Christopher, Warren, 64, 126, 131-32 

Cicak, Ivan Zvonimir, 136 

civil war, 4-5, 23, 26-27, 48-49, 51-52, 58, 
61, 64-65, 68, 79, 87. 108, 109, 1 1 1- 
12, 115-1 16, 118, 122-24, 131, 142- 
43, 145, 148, 150, 154. 172, 183, 185, 



188, 193, 198, 203, 20S, 210, 212. 

216-17 
Clark, Gen Wesley K., 6 
Clinton, William, 6, 73, 125, 131, 132, 

137, 141, 144, 146, 177, 189, 199, 

208,211 
CNN, 113,209,214 
coal, 89, 98 

Cold War, 20, 23, 26-27, 32, 40-42, 68, 

72, 144, 147, 151,218 
Commonwealth of Independent States 

(CIS), 21,35-37,42 
concentration camps, 15, 55, 166, 174, 

176-77, 186,205 
Congress of Berlin (1878), 53, 108, 141- 

42 

Council of Europe, 51 

Croatia, 6-7, 15, 16, 18, 24, 26-27, 29-30, 
51-52, 54, 59, 61, 64, 68-70, 74, 84, 
86-90,93, 97-99, 108, 110-17, 122- 
24, 131, 133-41, 144-45, 148-51, 154- 
56, 158, 160, 172, 176, 180, 182-83, 
186, 188-92, 197-98, 203-17 

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), 51, 
59, 135 

Croatian fascists, 51, 1 13, 208, 213-15 
Cuba, 50, 186 
Curguz, Pero, 1 7 1 
Czarist Russia, 53 

Czech Republic, 7, 20-21, 45, 180-83 
Czechoslovakia, 30 

— D— 

Danube, 70, 118, 123 

Dayton Accords, 4- 5, 7, 20, 79-80, 88-89, 

92, 124-26, 129, 141-42, 195 
debt, 49, 80, 83-84, 88-90, 102, 1 10, 127 
Dedijer, Vladimir, 1 5 
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), 134, 

148 

Defense Planning Guide, 3, 5 
deindustrialization, 2 1 
Demurenko, Col. Andrei, 66 
destabilization, 26, 188, 200-01 
detention camps, 57, 145, 168 
disarmament, 40-4 1 
Dugan, Col. Michael J., 72-73, 147 

— E— 

Eagleburger, Lawrence, 142, 152, 190 
Eastern Europe, 20, 23-25, 29, 32^2, 45- 

46,52, 82,92, 105, 108, 110, 144, 

146-48. 159, 180-84, 196 
Eisenhower, Dwight, 2-3 
embargo, see Sanctions 



Estonia, 182 

ethnic cleansing, 47, 55, 69, 90, 124, 134, 

183, 191,205-06, 209,214 
European Bank for Reconstruction and 

Development (EBRD), 81, 158 
European Command, 59, 155 
European Community, 56, 58, 82, 96-97, 

99-100, 112 
European Parliament, 57, 2 1 5 
Executive Order 12934. 125 

— F— 

fascism, 48, 51, 54, 59, 94-95, 1 13, 1 18, 
135, 137, 140, 145-46, 150, 159-61, 
183, 185, 188-89, 192-93, 208, 210, 
215 

Federal Qureau of Information (FBI), 18 
federation (of Yugoslavia), 6, 15, 16, 19, 

5 1 , 52, 53, 69, 72, 74, 97, 98. 99, 100, 

103, 104, 108, 109, 110, 112, 115, 

117, 126, 131, 151, 183 
financial institutions, 49-50, 80, 158, 221 
Fisk, Robert, 133, 138-39 
Foreign Operations Appropriations Law, 

48, 50-52,91, 111,221 
France, 1 , 6, 18, 35, 47, 53-54, 57-61, 68, 

72,74,96, 102-03, 107-08, 134, 138, 

142, 146^7, 151, 154, 159, 184, 188, 

206-07,212 
free market, 82, 90, 181, 194-95 
free trade zones, 15 



Galbraith, Peter, 18, 131, 134 
Galvin, Gen. John, 150, 155 
genocide, 8, 109, 113, 145^6, 152-54, 

191,205, 209 
German core, 36 

Germany, 1, 7, 16, 18, 23-24, 26- 27, 29- 
30, 33-34, 36, 42, 47, 51- 53, 55, 58- 
60, 68, 74, 80, 87, 92, 96-98, 102, 
105, 108, 110, 112-13, 123, 128, 131, 
134,142,146-50,153,155, 158-59, 
165, 167, 175, 179-84, 186, 188, 190, 
192-93,1 99-200, 208, 2 1 1 , 2 1 6- 1 8 

Gervasi, Sean, 20, 92, 1 12, 128. 200 

Golubic, 133 

Gorazde, 62-63, 65, 207 

Gore, Albert, 177 

Gospic, S 1 

Granic, Mate, 134 

Greece, 14, 58, 200 

GulfWar. 16-17, 72, 121-22, 128, 141, 

149, 154, 204 
Gunness, Chris, 133 



GutmaaRoy, 167-68 
Gypsies, seeRomani 

— H— 

Hague, The, 69, 126, 152-55, 167, 177, 
195-98 

Harff, James, 54-55, 188, 204, 209, 212 
Hassner, Pierre, 134 
Helsinki Watch, 56, 136, 207, 2 1 5 
Herzegovina, 24, 26-27, 29, 30, 54, 56, 

8 1 , 89, 93, 97-98, 1 1 4, 145, 1 5 1-52, 

160, 176, 182,210-12,214-17 
High Commission for Human Rights, 64 
Hill and Knowlton, 204-05, 209 
Holbrooke, Richard C, 28, 46, 66, 91, 211 
Holocaust, 54, 135, 139, 150, 166, 189, 

208,212-13 
human rights, 13,79, 109, 118-19, 195, 

203, 205-06,215,221 
Human Rights Watch, 56, 195, 205, 215 
human shields, 208 

Hungary, 7, 14, 17, 21, 24, 45, 53, 70, 
110, 112, 125, 144, 180-83 

— 1— 

independence, 29, 51,97, 108, 111-16, 

206,215,217 
inflation, 83, 102, 1 19-20, 122, 129 
Intelligence Digest, 24, 27, 45-46 
International Monetary Fund (IMF), 2, 5, 

35, 37, 49, 54, 81, 83-85, 88-90, 93, 

101, 118, 127, 158, 181 
Iraq, 8, 16-17, 23, 31, 49-50, 60, 72, 96, 

118, 121-23, 126, 129, 141, 147, 154, 

157,205 
Irvin, Jeremy, 165, 169-70 
Islamic Declaration, 128, 152, 161, 216, 

219 

Islamic fundamentalism, 18, 114, 208 
Israel, 17, 153,213,214,216,218 
Italy, 1, 7, 35, 53, 58, 60, 72, 74, 96, 102, 

108, 112, 123, 142, 160 
ITN, 165, 168, 170-71, 173, 175-78,209 
Izetbegovic, Alija, 54, 58-61, 63, 72, 1 14, 

116, 123-24, 128, 148, 151, 161, 187, 

199,214,216-17,219 

Japan, 71, 157, 159 
Jarcevic, Slobodan, 132, 137 
Jasenovac, 15, 189,213,218 
Jews, 52, 55, 1 13, 135, 145, 150, 155, 

159, 189, 191-92,211-18^ 
Johnson, Lyndon, 6 



— K— 

Karadzic, Radovan, 152, 187 

Kassebaum, Nancy, 39 

Kazakhstan, 7,31,33 

Kenney, George, 147 

Keraterm, 169, 171, 176-77 

Kinkei, Klaus, 131 

Kiseljak. 24 

Kluz textile plant, 119 

Knin, 133 

Konjevic, 206, 209 

Korean War, 157 

Komblum, John, 181 

Kosovo, 30, 54, 92, 98, 123, 126, 145, 

160, 204, 209 
Kozarac, 168, 172, 175 
Krajina, 64, 69, 89, 113, 124, 131-34, 

137-39, 154-56, 188-91, 194, 198, 

200,210,211,214,217 
Knipp, 146 



Latvia, 182 

League of Yugoslav Communists, 53 
Libya, 50, 60 
Lithuania, 182 

— M— 

Macedonia, 7, 30, 87-88, 93, 97-98, 108, 
114, 125, 144-45, 149, 160, 179, 180, 
182 

Manjaca, 167, 173, 176 
market socialism, 82, 91 
Markovic, Ante, 83, 84, 88, 92, 97, 1 1 1, 
127 

Maishall, Penny, 19, 165-70, 173-76 
Marshall Plan, 19 
Mercep, Tomislav, 136, 137 
Merlino, Jacques, 54-55, 75, 212, 218 
Mesic, Stipe, 131, 137 
Mestrovic, Mate, 131, 137 
Middle East, 31, 32, 49, S3. 60, 103, 158, 
180 

Mihajlovic, Draza, 94-96, 159-60 
military occupation, 1, 7, 9, 80, 141, 145- 
46 

Military Professional Resources Inc, 

(MPRJ) 134, 155 
Milosevic, Slobodan, 86, 96, 102-03, 115, 

124, 126, 181, 198-99 
Mladic, Ratko, 152 

Montenegro, 29, 52, 69, 87, 93, 96, 98, 
108, 110, 117, 126, 129, 141, 145, 
160, 200,211,217 



Ms. magazine, S6, 2 1 3 
Murtha, 62 

Muslims, 17-18, 26-27, 30-31, 47, 55-64, 
72,74, 109-10, 114, 123-24, 131-32, 
141, 151, 161, 165-69, 171-76, 178, 
180, 188-90, 193, 203-08, 212, 214, 
216-17 

— N— 

Nariyah, 204 

National Security Agency, 1 44 
National Security Decision Directive, 46, 
82 

nationalism, 79, 103, 109, 115, 179, 183, 

214,216 
natural gas, 31,36,55 
Nazism,9, 15, 51, 53,55, 108-09, 113, 

133, 135-36, 139^0, 145-46, 151, 

153, 159, 166, 168, 173, 175, 192, 

214 

Netherlands, 35, 89, 115, 138, 146 

North Atlantic Basin, 34 

North Atlantic Cooperation Council 
(NACC), 25 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
(NATO), 1-2, 4-7,9, 11, 13, 15, 17- 
18, 20-26, 28, 30, 32-34, 38-42, 45- 
47, 59-63, 65-68, 71-72, 74, 79- 80, 
88, 90, 93, 1 14, 123-26, 132, 137, 
139, 141-42, 144, 146^8, 150, 155- 
56, 177, 180, 188, 191-92, 196, 201, 
207,210-11 

North Sea, 30 

nuclear weapons, 22, 39, 41, 42, 45, 67 



Odom, Gen. William E., 144 
oil, 3 1 , 33, 36, 89-90, 1 1 4, 1 1 7, 1 26-27, 
157 

Omarska, 168, 171, 176-77 

Opacic, Dragan, 167, 177-78 

Operation Balkan Storm, 72, 147 

Operation Lightning Storm, 1 53 

Operation Storm, 134 

Organization for Security and Cooperation 

and Cooperation in Europe, 70, 1 76 
Orthodox Church, 95 
Ottoman Empire, 14, 53, 142, 191 
Overseas Private Investment Corporation 

(OPIC), 182 
Owen. David, 5, 73, 1 15-16, 128-29 

— P— 

Pakistan, 208 



Panic, Gen. Zivola, 149 
Parsons Corporation, 158-59 
Partisans, 5 1, 94 

Partnership fcr Peace (PFP), 25-26, 180 
Party for Democratic Action, 58-59 
Pavelic, Ante, 136, 160 
peacekeeping, 25. 47, 61, 68, 70, 73 
PenUgon, I - 4, 6, 8-9, 16, 47, 60-61, 64, 

67- 68, 71-74, 121, 123-25, 134, 141, 

143-44, 147-48, 150, 155-56, 158, 

188, 192 
Perry, William, 195-96,202 
Pobjeda Munitions Factory, 63 
Poland, 7, 21, 45, 50, 110, 155, 180-82 
Prijedor, 169-72, 177 
privatization, 52, 70, 84, 1 1 1, 1 19, 127, 

181, 183 

— R— 

racism, 183, 192,209 

rapes, 47, 56-58, 63, 153, 172-73, 186, 

188, 190-92, 194,205-07,215 
Reagan, Ronald, 67, 82, 144, 213 
Red Cross, 126, 132, 171-72, 176 
Republika Srpska, 80, 89 
Resolution 757, 1 17, 1 19 
restructuring, 37, 81, 83, 90-91 
Reuters, 75, 130, 138-40, 147, 161, 184 
Riggs International Bank, 158 
Rojnica, Ivo, 135 
Romani, 52, 113, 145,211 
Romania, 29, 70, 122, 179-82 
Rose, Michael, 62 

Ruder Finn, 54, 187-88, 204, 207, 209, 
212-13 

Russia, 2 1 -22, 25-26, 28, 3 2 , 35, 37-42, 
46, 52-53, 180, 184 



Sacirbey, Mohammed, 1 23 

sanctions, 2, 13, 17, 24, 50-52, 64, 67, 69, 
70, 72, 82, 94, 96, 104, 107-09, III- 
14, 1 17-30, 155, 186, 188, 193, 197, 
204 

Sanctions Assistance Mission, 125 
Sanjak, 30 

Sarajevo, 1 7- 1 8, 24, 5 3 , 5 9 , 60, 62-63, 65- 
66, 1 18, 123, 129, 137, 147, 161, 178, 
189, 191-92, 205-07, 209,219 

satellite intelligence, 134 

Saudi Arabia, 208-209, 217 

secession, 84, 86-87, 97, 102, 108-09, 
111-12, 114, 136, 149, 183 

Security Council, 8, 62, 63, 69, 72, 81, 94, 
96, 108, 117, 120, 122, 126, 134, 177 



Serbia, 6, 16, 17, 24, 27, 29-30, 47, 52, 
54, 69, 72, 86-87, 95-96, 98-99, 1 02- 
03, 107-08, 114, 117, 123-24, 126, 
129, 145. 149, 156, 159, 160, 180-81, 
184-87, 191-93,200,211,217 

Serbians, 1, 6-7, 15, 17-18, 26-27, 29, 47- 
48, 51-52, 54-57, 59, 62-64, 66, 69, 
72,74, 80.86-87,89. 95-96, 102, 
108-10, 113-16, 118, 121-26, 128. 
131-33, 135-41. 143, 145-46, 150-52, 
154-56, 159-60, 167, 172-73, 175-77, 
181, 184-85, 197-200,204-218 

Shalikashvili, Gen. John, 61 

Sheehan, Gen. John, 7 

shock therapy, 88 

Silajdzic, Maris, 56 

Sisak, 132 

Sixih neet, U.S., 98, 1 13, 123 

Slavs, 17, 18, 79, 91, 99, 161 

Slovakia, 39, 70, 181-82 

Slovenia, 16, 29, 51-52, 84, 86-87, 93, 97- 

99, 104, 108. 110-17, 145. 149-50. 

160. 182-83,188,217 
socialist federation, 5 1 , 5 3 , 74, 1 00, 1 08 
Soviet Red Army, 109 
Soviet Union, 16, 22, 28, 31-32, 35-36, 

40. 49. 52. 70, 95, 101, 105, 110, 144, 

148, 159, 182, 196.217 
Srebrenica, 63-65 
stabilization, 88 
START I and II, 40 

Stockholm International Peace Research, 
180 

Structural Adjustment, 181 
Susak,Gojko, 135 
Syria, 31, 50 

— T— 

Tadic, Dusko, 153, 167, 177-78 

third Yugoslavia, 29 

Tito, Josip Broz, 15-16, 53, 83, 94, 103, 

109, 116, 151, 160 
Transcaucasia, 32, 33 
u-ansition,21.43. 45, 88. 176, 178, 181 
Tmopolje, 165-78 
Truman, Harry S, 153 
Tudjman, Franjo, 54, 59, 86-87, 1 13, 131, 

133, 135-36. 139-40. 148-51, 189. 

197.214 
Turkey. 31. 53. 58, 180, 208. 217 
Tuzia, 57, 59. 64-65, 90, 206 



— U— 

U.S. Justice Dqjartment, 204 
U.S. Special Forces, 150 
U.S. Treasury, 180 
Ukraine, 9, 39, 122, 179 

UN Intervention Force (IFOR), 81, 89 
LTs Resolution 757, 117, 119 
UNPROFOR, 24, 215 
uranium, 194, 198 

Ustashe,51-52, 113, 135, 139, 150,213 
— V— 

Vance, C>tus. 5. 73, 97, 1 15, 128 
Vietnam, 6, 8, 9, 50, 57, 64, 73, 75, 109, 

128, 142-44, 149, 154,211 
Visegrad, 21,45 

Voice of America (VOA), 181, 196-97, 
199 

Vojvodina, 160 

Vulliamy, Ed, 165-70, 173-78 

— W— 

war crimes, 8, 121, 126, 152, 153, 154, 

155, 162, 167 
War Crimes Tribunal, 8, 15, 126. 152. 

155. 162, 166-67, 177-78 
Warburton Report, 56-57 
WanawPact,7, 25-26, 40 
Williams, Ian, 165-66, 168-69. 176 
Wladimiroff, Mischa, 167, 178 
Working Group on NATO Enlargement, 

25, 38, 46 
World Bank, 2, 37, 49, 85, 88, 90. 92, 

101, 181 
World Court, 8, 69 
World Health Organization, 121 

— Y— 

Yugoslav National Army, 112-13 149 
Yugoslav United Left, 127 

—I— 

Zagreb. 57, 81. 87, 133, 137. 139, 140. 

183, 191, 197 
Zagreb Helsinki Comminee. 133 
Zajedno. 182 

Zimmerman, Warren, 91, 148, 199 
Zuzul, 131